Friday 14 February 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: A Flow of Israeli IPOs

Is London well positioned to capture the next wave of Israeli tech IPOs?

There has been hype and a buzz in the City this week about the number of Israeli tech companies that are currently eyeing a listing in London. Companies include digital advertising company Matomy who now has ten global offices in Israel, Spain, Germany, Mexico, San Francisco and New York and employs 400 people. The Company is looking to raise £60m which will value it at between £200 and £300m. Another is digital advertising Company, Marimedia.

Israel, dubbed the 'start up nation', is the second largest source of innovation after Silicon Valley and is the third largest source of listings on New York’s NASDAQ. Global tech companies, Apple, Google, Intel and HP have been building up their research and development operations in Israel, making the country a major tech hub in its own right. Its leading tech companies have engineered cutting edge medical technology such as Given Imaging, a producer of swallowable camera pills.

Inspiring Innovation
Source: Oliver Thompson - Flickr CC
News of foreign tech companies, particularly from this innovative market, choosing to come to London to list is welcome news; London must do all it can to attract these companies. For too long London has failed to do so due to the lack of fund managers and analysts focusing on tech. Many argue that London’s capital markets are too immature in this respect when compared to NASDAQ or even NYSE, and until London sees a consistent number of tech companies floating successfully on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) then investors will continue to go to the US to tap into its attractive infrastructure, analysts and flourishing IPO market. Was it presumptuous of Joanna Shields, Tech City Chief, to claim in October 2013 that London had reached parity with New York when one of the most exciting companies and gaming giant, King chose to float in New York last year?

Nonetheless, London has been making positive steps to capture this market and the most attractive sector for growth. The LSE launched the “High Growth Segment” (HGS) in March 2013 with the goal of enticing firms to the market; companies wouldn’t have to comply with the usual free-float rules and would also be able to list by selling as little as 10% of their equity. This initiative has been received positively by fast growing companies, and according to Marcus Stuttard, Head of UK primary markets at the LSE, there is a rising interest in the broader IPO market. It is hoped that the arrival of Facebook and Google as established presences in East London will bring a new wave of commercial expertise. The government has also launched its Future Fifty scheme, designed to attract and support online entrepreneurs to push the UK into the front of the global race in this respect. These are all great initiatives, but more will be needed to ensure that London successfully rides the next wave of Israeli tech companies looking to IPO.

Abchaps welcomed Mazars Finance and Corporate Finance teams into our offices and heard about their focus on Israel, as well as their specialist sectors: media, technology and telecoms. We also entertained some special guests at Chelsea, who were victorious over Newcastle 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Love wasn’t the only thing in the air this week; promotions and new appointments were also on the cards at a number of top City firms. Our friends at Cavendish Corporate Finance appointed Joe Stelzer as a managing partner after four successful years at the Company.

Octopus Investments announced that Debu Purkayastha is to be their entrepreneur-in-residence at the fund management Company. No doubt he will use his previous experience at Google to drive the business forward with his keen eye for exciting new opportunities. In the legal domain, Pinsent Masons have also now appointed Michael Ruck as a senior lawyer in its corporate crime team.

Finally, following our client Lighthouse Group’s announcement last week that Rowan Dartington had been brought on board, the Group have also appointed Mark Evans as business development director, moving over from his senior executive position at Pearl Assurance.

'BitTag' – In a week where the burgeoning BitCoin industry was writ large across our newspaper headlines, our tech-loving friends over in East London introduced the ‘BitTag’ concept. BitTags are physical price tags that provide the consumer with a real-time indication of an item’s price according to market fluctuations, displaying both local currency and BitCoin value.

Darling, you’ve left the BitTag on my valentines day present. This may have been a pricey gift at Harrods, but you could have got it at a knock-off price with BitCoin, you cheap…

It’s the big Valentine’s Day today, so whether you have been struck by Cupid’s love arrow or are single and ready to mingle, the City is hosting numerous options for both love and lust...

Instead of gazing longingly into each others eyes over a candlelit dinner, get physical with some couples’ aqua zorbing or a ‘Lovers Leap Bungee Jump’! 

For you singletons, fear not – love could be found exploring the beautiful and the ugly at the Natural History Museum’s Valentine’s Day Night Safari. Alternatively, head to Bounce club for its anti-val, strictly no kissing, just ping pong night of partying!

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