SFKT injects $2m into Persay just months after write down

The current investment apparently makes SFKT the controlling shareholder in voice verification company Persay.

A few months after SFKT, which deals with the venture capital activity of the Shrem Fudim Kelner group, made a substantial write down, amounting to NIS 6.5 million, of the value of its investment in biometric voice verification technology company Persay, SFKT is again injecting cash into the company. At the time, the write down represented 50% of SFKT's total investment in Persay.

SFKT recently invested $2 million in Persay, as part of a second fund raising round. The money is earmarked for Persay's development and marketing activities. SFKT's valuation of Persay at the end of last year was between NIS 12.9 million and NIS 16.4 million. It follows that the money SFKT has now put into the company probably makes it the controlling shareholder.

Persay was founded in February 2000, as a spin-off of Verint Systems (Nasdaq:VRNT), part of the Comverse Technology (Nasdaq:CMVT) group. It has its headquarters in Tel Aviv, and also has an office in New York. Since its founding, its field of activity has been voice verification, which is part of the biometrics market. The company has two main products: Persay VocalPassword, a system that verifies a voice password by comparing the voice with a database stored in its memory; and Persay FreeSpeech, a system that identifies a voice sample after a few seconds of natural conversation.

In July 2000, Persay raised $5 million at a company value of $17 million. SFKT's invested $1.5 million. Polar Communications and private investors also participated in that round.

This month, Persay announced the signing of an agreement with Taiwanese call centers solutions company DTSC. Under the agreement, several Persay systems will be installed in Taiwan.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on June 22, 2004

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