CTech’s Weekly Israeli Tech News Roundup

Taboola sketches aggressive expansion in content distribution following Facebook feed changes. Israel tech leave offer for soldiers. Will Smith and his son struggle to get their bottled water startup off the ground

CTech 18:0809.03.18

On heels of Facebook feed change, content distribution company Taboola sketches aggressive expansion. On Wednesday, Taboola announced it predicts over $1 billion in revenues for 2018 and intends to increase its employee count in the upcoming year by around 45%. The company's announcement comes at a time when more and more publishers are beginning to feel the strain of Facebook's recent news feed changes. In January, Facebook announced it will prioritize posts from family and friends while at the same time decreasing the visibility of content by publishers and branded content. Read more


Marijuana. Photo: Bloomberg Marijuana. Photo: Bloomberg

Israel to offer military personnel a two-year “tech leave.” In recent years, Israel has explored ways to preserve this high-quality talent in light of the lucrative options waiting for them outside of the military. Dubbed as the “time-capsules plan”, the new initiative will allow career soldiers in cyber and tech units in Israel’s military to take up to two years of leave-of-absence to work in selected non-military tech companies. Read more


Cannabis outfit Medivie signs $110 million export deal. The deal is contingent on Israel enabling export of medical cannabis, a 2016 regulatory reform that is currently at a standstill due to governmental disagreements. Read more


Will and Jaden Smith’s bottled water company Just Goods reboots after burning through $20 million. The company owned by the Hollywood stars burned through $20 million in two years and let go most of its 48 employees, new CEO Ira Laufer said. According to Mr. Laufer, when the Smith family launched the company, they appointed heavyweight executives, recruited a large team, and assumed success is imminent. “The board of directors was made up of celebrities, people from the entertainment industry, people with a lot of good intentions but not enough experience,” he said. Read more


Israel wants to lure U.S. scientists with $100 thousand grants. To address growing local demand for tech talent and attract foreign students to Israeli academia, Israel partnered with media magnate Mortimer Zuckerman to finance a program aiming to convince dozens of post-doctoral students in American universities to relocate to Israel. With an overall budget of $11 million, the program aims to convince dozens of scientists from American universities to take on teaching positions in Israeli academic institutions. Each of the academics selected for the program will be eligible for a $100,000 grant for a two-year period. Read more


Microsoft brings home the management of its startup outreach program. Called Microsoft for Startups, the program operates accelerators in eight locations worldwide, and the company’s cloud startup outreach program BizSpark. First started in Israel in 2012, the program was managed from the country until recently. On Tuesday, Microsoft shut down the Israeli management team, as part of a decision to transfer the operation to its Redmond headquarters. Read more


Intel CEO highlights autonomous cars push in visit to Israel. At a Tuesday event held by Intel’s Israeli research and development employees, CEO Brian Krzanich announced he intends to spend Wednesday testing Mobileye's autonomous vehicle with Mobileye co-founder and CEO Amnon Shashua. Intel acquired the Jerusalem-based automotive chipmaker in 2017 for $15.3 billion, taking a big step forward in the driverless car race. Read more

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