Thursday, January 20th | 18 Shevat 5782

May 14, 2020 11:27 am

Intel and Microsoft Investing in Secretive Israeli Company

avatar by Meir Orbach / CTech

The Intel logo is shown at E3, the world’s largest video game industry convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 12, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo.

CTech – Is Intel preparing for its next big acquisition? Israel-based semiconductor manufacturer Xsight Labs has completed a fundraising round estimated at upwards of $50 million led by Intel Capital, Microsoft, Valor Equity Partners, and others, a person with knowledge of the deal told Calcalist under condition of anonymity. Both Intel and Xsight Labs declined to comment on the report.

The company, which is based in the southern city of Kiryat Gat and employs dozens of workers according to the IVC research center, produces advanced chipsets for the communications market. The company, which is operating in stealth mode, has raised upwards of $100 million in three rounds. The first round was led by Israeli tech entrepreneur Avigdor Willenz, the second led by Intel and Microsoft, and a third, which was completed in 2020 and raised more than $50 million, was led by Intel.

XSight Labs was founded in 2017 by three former employees of EZChip, which was acquired by Mellanox in 2016 for $811 million. Its founders are Guy Koren, who serves as CEO; Erez Sheizaf, vice president of research and development; and Gal Malach, its CTO. All three left Mellanox after the acquisition to start Xsight Labs.

Willenz invested in the company shortly after its founding together with Manuel Alba, who co-founded Galileo Technologies. Willenz and Alba have partnered on many investments. Another executive at Xsight is COO Hamutal Raab, who used to work at other tech companies like Emblaze and Siano Mobile Silicon.

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The company maintains secrecy about its activities and developments but is apparently working on chips to accelerate next generation, cloud-based, data-intensive workloads such as machine learning, data analytics, and disaggregated storage.

At the end of 2019, Intel acquired artificial intelligence semiconductor manufacturer Habana Labs for more than $2 billion, after the latter had raised only $120 million.

Intel Capital is one of the most active funds operating in Israel. Just recently it took part in a $35 million investment round in AI monitoring company Anodot. Intel also acquired public transportation navigation app Moovit earlier this month for almost $1 billion.

On Wednesday, Intel Capital announced it is investing $132 million in 11 technology startups with expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous computing. The other companies joining Intel Capital’s portfolio are Anodot, Astera Labs, Axonne, Hypersonix, KFBIO, Lilt, MemVerge, ProPlus Electronics, Retrace, and Spectrum Materials.

Intel Capital is on track to invest between $300 million and $500 million in technology companies in 2020.

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