Apple agreed to buy semiconductor designer Anobit Technologies Ltd., Calcalist reported Dec. 20. On the same day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office posted on its Twitter account a message congratulating Apple “on your first acquisition here,” without naming the target company. Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, declined to elaborate.
Anobit, founded in 2006 and based in Herzliya Pituach, and investor Pitango Venture Capital declined to comment. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment on “rumor and speculation.”
International investments may not be the answer to the needs of Israel’s startups because the smaller number of local financiers poses a risk to the industry’s independence, said Abraham Peled, executive chairman of Staines, England-based digital-television coding developer NDS Group Plc.
“The minute Israeli high-tech is primarily based on development centers of major companies, their fortune will be tied to that of those companies so that, if they are cutting staff, they will cut in Israel as well,” Peled said.
Israel’s “nimble” startup model can still thrive even as government funds drop because Internet companies only need small amounts of money, Vardi said. The city of Tel Aviv recently opened a working space called the Library for young technology entrepreneurs, he said.
The hour-long Garage Geeks event closed the Tel Aviv part of Digital Life Design, an international technology industry convention held in Munich. The Israeli edition attracted 300 visitors from outside the country, Vardi said.
“Somehow the word is out that this is where everyone has to be,” said Vardi, co-chairman of the global conference and a founding investor in the former Mirabilis Ltd., which developed the ICQ online-chat system.
Top executives from Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc., Paris- based Alcatel-Lucent and Russia’s Yandex NV were among nine potential benefactors at Garage Geeks who donned yellow vests. About 300 startup founders, clustering in groups as large as 30, roamed from suitor to suitor making appeals under loose rules that urged “short” presentations.
“When you make a connection with an entrepreneur who’s really excited, whether you do a deal with him or not, that’s kind of the juice of the job,” Google’s Lawee said.