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February 12, 2014 8:21 pm

After Another Start-Up Success, Economy Minister Bennett Praises Israel as ‘Manufacturer of Innovation’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Michal Tzur, a co-founder of Israeli start-up Kaltura, and former Cyota colleague of Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Photo: Screenshot / Facebook.

Michal Tzur, a co-founder of Israeli start-up Kaltura, and former Cyota colleague of Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Photo: Screenshot / Facebook.

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday praised former Cyota colleague, Michal Tzur, a co-founder of Israeli start-up Kaltura, after the open source video platform announced a capital raise of an additional $47 million.

On Facebook, Bennett said Kaltura’s success has led him to two insights: that people, not products, make companies, and, that while there’s a strong argument to grow a start-up into a large corporation, there’s equally sound evidence to show that serial entrepreneurs who create many companies, also create many jobs.

“One – Everything is about people,” Bennett said. “Michal Tzur was one of four founders of Cyota, along with the genius Lior Golan, Ben Enosh, and me. She is smart, dedicated, creative, professional and sensitive towards people. After we sold Cyota, she established Kaltura.”

“At first, I was not sold on their product. Since then the product has been completely transformed,” Bennett said. “It teaches you that what matters most is quality of people, not the product.”

“Why? Quality people know how to change their product, strategy and everything else. The initial product is only the starting point of a long adventure,” he said.

“Two – Are exits really that bad? I often hear complaints that Israeli high-tech companies sell out to foreign companies, and what a shame it is that they do not expand domestically into huge companies, like Check Point, for example,” he said.

“There is something to that point of view. But there is also an additional big advantage in selling your company,” according to Bennett. “Look at what happened to our company, Cyota, since we sold it. It has grown to about 350 employees. Michal established Kaltura, which produces hundreds of Israeli jobs. Ben founded PLYmedia, which has also succeeded in generating many Israeli jobs. Lior is the Chief Technology Manager at Taboola, another large Israeli job creator.”

“In total, the ‘Cyota refugees’ have started about 10 new companies that have created thousands of new, good Israeli jobs. From day to day I learn more about Israel as a manufacturer of innovation. This is our strength,” he said.

On Wednesday, Kaltura said it raised the cash from new investors SAP Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, Commonfund Capital, and Brazil-based Gera Ventures with participation from previous investors .406 Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Inc., and Silicon Valley Bank, according to Israeli business daily Globes.

The proceeds will be used to accelerate product development, and expand into Brazil, Mexico, China, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Korea. To date, the company has raised $107 million, according to Globes.

Over the past year, Kaltura has been named ‘One of 10 Wildly Successful Startups’ by Inc. Magazine, ‘One of 5 Companies That Made Media Consumption Smarter This Year’ by Forbes, ‘One of 5 Companies That Transformed Enterprise Communication in 2013’ and ‘One of Top 5 Start-Ups Revolutionizing Education’ by Business Insider.

Kaltura was founded in 2006 by Tzur, its president, chairman and CEO Ron Yekutiel, chief revenue officer Dr. Shay David, and VP R&D Eran Etam. The company’s open source online video platform enables anyone to upload video, images, or sound onto a website, and offers encryption, management distribution, and rich media content analysis capabilities, according to Globes. The platform supports all computers and mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Kaltura is headquartered in New York City, its R&D center is in Ramat Gan, and it has offices in San Francisco and London.

In a statement announcing the funding round, CEO Yekutiel said, “The rapid adoption of our technology around the globe is a testament to the central role that video plays in every facet of our connected lives. We are proud to enable and streamline the creation of hundreds of video-enabled applications and workflows, and to assist hundreds of millions of people to improve the way they work, learn, collaborate, and entertain using video.”

“Following our success in North America and Europe, we started addressing Asia Pacific and Latin America and were met by explosive demand,” Yekutiel said. “We will continue to grow our operations in all four regions this year, as well as further accelerate our product development. Upcoming releases include advanced live, OTT, analytics, and monetization solutions for media companies and service providers; webcasting capabilities for enterprises; and lecture capture capabilities for educational institutions.”

Kaltura customers include leading media companies, corporations and educational institutions. Among the media companies, Kaltura works for HBO, ABC, Warner Brothers, Paramount, DirecTV, Turner, and Wikipedia; among corporations, Bank of America, Intel, SAP, Century 21, Ericsson, Danone, Discount Tire, Accenture, AstraZeneca, Groupon, Nestle, Philips and IKEA; and among educational institutions, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Durham, Warwick, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, California State University and NYU.

Kaltura distributors and channel partners include Atos, InterCall, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Ellemedia, and Cognos Online.

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