Business Briefs

Business Briefs


Nordic Theme for Prize-winning Israeli Design
S 1 yeti forest 2.2488The Yetitoy Tricycle, recipient of Israel’s Atir Prize and the Ot Ha’itzuv Prize for outstanding industrial design, draws its inspiration from Scandinavian forests. This reindeer-on-wheels blends the simplicity of minimalist chic with the nostalgic innocence of vintage toys. Yeti is designed by Yama Ltd. and manufactured by Inram Development and Design. Seeking greener pastures, Yeti has gone global and is currently sold in Europe, North America, Korea and Russia as well as Israel.

Israel’s Greenbo Takes Silver
S 2 greenbo_3colorsRepresenting Israel, Greenbo, the designer and manufacturer of innovative saddle-style planters for over-the-railing urban gardening, received second prize in the Creative Business Cup competition held in Copenhagen as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The company also received the coveted Red Dot award for excellence in design. Norwegian competitor, Norwegian Rain ( took third place in the international competition for its high-performance rainwear.

Grand Cuisine from the Master

S 3 Electrolux-Grand-Cuisine-Surround-Induction-Zone-0021Swedish appliance manufacturer, Electrolux, has launched a new line of ultra-luxury kitchen appliances. The Electrolux Grand Cuisine system is designed to provide home cooks with Michelin-worthy equipment, creating a new category of “home appliances”. The Grand Cuisine system comprises nine products: a combination oven, blast chiller, induction zone, precision vacuum sealer, gas hob, sear hob, surround induction zone, stand mixer and bespoke ventilation system. The pièce de résistance, however, is the custom-built French style Molteni cooking stove, complete with a built-in vacuum packer, deep fat fryer, food mixer, security system to ward off would-be stove burglars and an introductory briefing by a professional chef. The price tag on the system, sans stove, is around € 80,000. Electrolux, the world’s second largest manufacturer of kitchen appliances, is represented in Israel by Mini Line, Ltd.

Israeli Inventor recycles Cycling
S 4 cardboardbikeIzhar Gafni, an Israeli inventor, has developed a bicycle made almost entirely of recycled cardboard. The bike, which has withstood a number of durability tests, will not include any metal parts; even the brakes and wheel and pedal bearings will be made of recycled substances. Gafni and his partner Nimrod Elmish, intend to mass produce the bike, which according to their estimates, should cost consumers no more than $20.

Volvo Driving Driverless
In an interview to the Wall Street Journal, head of government affairs, Anders Eugensson at Volvo voiced the company’s commitment to manufacture an accident-free car by the end of the decade. Following years of investment in driverless technology, the company announced that is preparing to launch its first batch of autonomous vehicles, capable of travelling 50 km/hour. At the same time it has been testing prototypes of faster-speed vehicles on test tracks in Sweden and public roads in Spain.

Angry Birds Migrate to Theme Parks
S 6 Angry BirdsIt’s not just the world’s most downloaded paid mobile app in the world anymore! Those adorable irate birds created by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment have invaded the non-virtual world with Angry Birds theme parks. The first such official park, designed in cooperation with Rovio, was launched last spring at Finland’s Särkänniemi Adventure Park. Going global, a second park opened in Nottinghamshire, UK, in August. Built in partnership with Finnish playground equipment manufacturer, Lappset, the parks are scalable adventure playgrounds with themed equipment, park furniture, landscaping and optional refreshment kiosks or cafés. They are linked to the virtual world, as well; through positioning technology developed in cooperation with Rovio, visitors gain access to Angry Birds game levels as they move and play throughout the park.

Fiskars Acquires Royal Copenhagen
S 8 Royal CphFinnish Fiskars  recently announced the acquisition of upscale Danish porcelain firm, Royal Copenhagen. With the acquisition, Fiskars consolidates its market position in fine dinnerware. The Royal Copenhagen brand of hand-painted porcelain complements Fiskar’s Iitala, Rörstand and Arabia brands of premium Scandinavian dinnerware.


Novozymes Awarded Grant for Bioenergy Enzyme
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Danish Novozymes a US $2.5 million grant to discover new and more efficient enzymes for converting leftover corn leaves and stalks into automotive fuel. The project is being conducted with U.S. energy firm MBI and entails developing a screening process that when proven, will be used to develop cost-effective enzyme solutions rapidly for bio-refineries.


Axis Awarded for Innovative Night Surveillance Technology
Swedish Axis Communications  was awarded the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award for its Lightfinder technology which enables video surveillance cameras to see detail and colour even in the dark without the need for artificial lighting. Norwegian Thin Film Electronics ASA  together with its partner PARC (Xerox), were awarded runners-up.

CybAero Takes Off with Strategic Agreement
13 CybaeroThe Swedish UAV company, CybAero has entered into a strategic distribution agreement with the world’s largest UAV company, AeroVironment, for distribution of its unmanned helicopter (VTOL) UAV in the US as well as government clients in NATO and other countries. As part of the agreement, AeroVironment agrees to invest US $3 million in CybAero convertible notes. CybAero was founded in 2003 but R&D in the company’s technology began with a joint research project between the Swedish National Defence Research Agency and Linköping University.

Telcred Pitches in Tel Aviv
Swedish off-line access control company, Telcred participated in the StartTWS international startup conference held last winter in Tel Aviv. Telcrad develops a markets solutions for physical access control based on near field communications (NFC) technology which enables mobile device access control. Unlike similar systems, Telrad’s technology copes with frequent user changes and temporary access rights even if the lock controllers are offline. The company is a member of a consortium developing smart IT for the Stockholm Royal Seaport and its technology is being piloted at the EIT ICT Labs in Kista Science City. Carlo Pompili, Telcred’s CEO, participated in the 10-day Startup Bootcamp held by Tel Aviv Global City.

Norwegian App Promotes Personal Safety
S 01 BipperNorwegian company Bipper has launched a mobile application to help keep its users safe. At the push of a button, the bSafe “panic alarm” app lets people remotely alert their friends and family when encountering trouble. It also can indicate location, set off an alarm and record and broadcast a time-stamped video. The company has adopted a “freemium” monetization strategy. The basic app can be downloaded for free, while the premium package costs $2 per month or $20 for one year. The company has raised $4.5 million in venture capital and launched its services in the U.S. last summer.


BrightSource and Alstom kick off Negev Solar Energy Project
S 16 Bright source energyA partnership between Israel-related BrightSource Energy and Alstom won the bid for the construction of the first of three solar power projects under the Ashalim 250 megawatt solar tender. The project involves the construction and operation of a 121 megawatt solar thermal power plant. The power plant which is scheduled to come online in 2017 is a public-private BOT project with a 25-year concession period. The Ashalim tender includes the construction of two concentrated solar power (CSP) plants and one photovoltaic power plan, which when completed will generate approximately 2% of Israel’s installed capacity, contributing to Israel’s goal of achieving 10% renewable energy sources by 2020.


Israel and EU Mutually Recognize Drug Manufacturing Standards
The European Union and Israel concluded a mutual recognition agreement by which each side recognizes the quality of drug manufacturing and supervision of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) of the other. This agreement improves the accessibility of drugs manufactured in Israel to EU markets and vice versa by obviating the need for manufacturers to perform laboratory tests on every shipment. In addition, the agreement mutually validates the audits performed by the health authorities in each jurisdiction, nullifying the requirement for additional audits by the importing authority.

FDA Approves Anti-depression Helmet
18 BrainswayThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Deep TMS devices developed by Jerusalem-based Brainsway Ltd. The helmet device deploys Deep TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) to treat depression in patients who fail to respond to medication during depression. According the company, the helmet could constitute a breakthrough in the way depression is treated worldwide.

Swedish Gambro Acquired by Baxter International
Baxter International Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Gambro AB a privately held dialysis product company based in Lund, Sweden, for a total consideration of SEK 26.5 billion (approximately $4.0 billion). Gambro develops, manufactures and markets dialysis products and therapies for patients with acute or chronic kidney disease. The company’s 2011 sales amounted to US $1.6 billion.

Oral Insulin Nearing Phase II Clinical Trials
Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised US $5.6 million to help finance Phase II trials in the United States for its oral insulin capsule. The company recently entered into an agreement with Medpace to serve as Clinical Research Organization for the Phase II trial in 147 patients in several centres throughout the US.

Israeli Company Ready for Clinical Trials of Universal Flu Vaccine in EU
Israeli BiondVax Pharmaceuticals recently passed the GMP audit necessary to advance the clinical development of its universal flu vaccine, M-001, in the EU. The vaccine is already in advanced stages of clinical development in the US, having completed 4 clinical trials in the U.S. The company recently announced that it is collaborating with a US company to develop an orally administered version of the vaccine that maintains stability at room temperature.

Weizmann Institute Honours Karolinska Immunologist
weizmann-instituteIsrael’s Weizmann Institute of Science bestowed an honorary Ph.D. on Prof. George Klein, professor emeritus of tumour biology at the Karolinska Institute’s Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology. Klein together with his wife and colleague, Eva, are credited with laying the foundations of Sweden’s prominence in cancer research.

Tasty Lactose-free Probiotics
Israeli Anlit Advanced Nutrition Supplements  has entered an agreement with Finnish Axellus Oy to market its chewable lactose-free supplement in Finland. Lactose intolerance affects approximately one in five Finns and this probiotic, marketed under the Sana-sol brand, was designed with them in mind. Encased in white chocolate, it is a flavourful way to protect the intestinal and immune systems. Anlit reports that the response in Finland has been good and that the two companies are considering expanding cooperation in the future. This is not Anlit’s first Scandinavian excursion. In 2010 the company teamed up with Danisco to develop sugar-free probiotic yogurt bears for children.


Billerud and Korsnäs merge to lead the Market
S Packaging 24 Fפretagsp sid 1 .In the wake of the mergers and acquisitions which have taken place over the last couple of years in the packaging products area, a giant group has been born in Northern Europe with the merging of the companies Billerud and Korsnäs. The new company, BillerudKorsnäs, is now a leading primary fibre-based packaging materials and packaging solutions company with an annual turnover of around SEK 20 billion. The Board of Directors in BillerudKorsnäs has decided to undertake a Rights Issue in order to use the proceeds to decrease the company’s net debt. Nathan Paas, Chairman of the Panor Group, states that the merger is a positive step as the companies complement each other in the packaging field.

Designing Outside the Box
package-illustrationIsraeli packaging manufacturer, EasyBox has found a way to make packaging more efficient and cost-effective.  Easy boxes are constructed as a seamless uniform unit, which facilitates one-handed assembly by end users, without the need of addition tape, staples, or other adhesive materials. Folded, the boxes come in a pentagonal shape and are assembled by pushing in the bottom to form a cube. They are built for versatility and durability, and depending on design, are suitable for industrial and retail usage. The company is currently pursuing a global marketing strategy and is seeking manufacturers in Scandinavia to license its technology and dedicated equipment.

Where Nanotechnology Meets Offset Printing
Ben Zion Landa, the pioneer of digital printing and founder of Landa Nanographic Printing, Ltd. recently unveiled his company’s new Nanographic™ commercial printing presses. Using special inks developed from nano pigment particles, Landa’s nanographic printing technology changes the way ink hits paper (or cardboard, or plastic film). This method is characterised by ultra-sharp dots of highly uniform colour and gloss fidelity, which render excellent image quality at the speed of offset printing. The image is applied to the material dry, obviating the need for pre-treatment or post-drying and enabling simultaneous two-sided printing on a variety of paper and other materials. After making its show-stopping debut at the Dupra print media trade, the company has collected a backlog of orders and is in the midst of raising $200 million equity from private equity sources.


Israeli and Finnish Airlines in Top-20

Marimekko fabric

Marimekko fabric

Israeli and Finnish carriers, El Al  and Finnair were ranked by Travel & Leisure magazine as 18th and 19th respectively on their list of world’s best airlines. Up from 31st place in 2011, El Al was given kudos on improved ground and in-flight service and good food. Finnair was distinguished for its remarkable flight experience and its “cultural tie-ins”, such as the design partnership with Marimekko.

Bridging Cleantech Tourism

29 Nasa oresund-bridge

Satellite photo of bridge between Denmark and Sweden

Green Cooperation Denmark-Sweden has launched an initiative to enable foreign delegations to visit both Danish and Swedish cleantech solutions on a single study trip. Previously, the delegations had to arrange the visits across the Øresund Bridge themselves. The collaboration also enables organizers to tailor programs precisely to the needs of the visiting delegation. Green Cooperation Denmark-Sweden is a joint project of Sustainable Business Hub Scania, State of Green, the City of Copenhagen, Malmö and the University of Lund.


Klarna Crosses 50 Million Threshold

SMall 31 Klarna sebastian siemiatkowski

CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski

In December Swedish online payments company, Klarna processed its 50 millionth transaction since its launch in 2005. Based on market analytics and risk management software developed by its Israeli subsidiary (prior to its acquisition, Analyzd, Ltd.), the company markets a consumer-friendly payment system for e-commerce, which enables consumers to pay only after receiving their orders. Risk of non-payment is assumed by Klarna. The service is used across Scandinavia as well as in Germany, Holland and Austria.

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