GE, Philips, Microsoft to bid for incubators

The Technology Incubator Program is holding tenders for new franchisees for the Ashkelon, Netanya, and Katzrin incubators.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that General Electric (NYSE: GE), Philips NV (Euronext: PHIA; NYSE: PHG), and Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) will bid in the upcoming incubator tender. The Technology Incubator Program is preparing to hold its third incubator franchise tender in three years. The incubators in the present tender are the incubator in Ashkelon, currently held by franchisee Ashkelon Technological Industries (ATI), a subsidiary of Gefen Biomed Investements Ltd. (TASE: GEFEN); the Netanya incubator, run by Targetech Innovation Center; and the Katzrin incubator, run by Meytag Technology Incubator, a unit of Capital Point Ltd. (TASE:CPTP).

The three current franchisees have decided not to bid in the tender to extend their franchises, apparently because of the changes in the agreement between the government and the incubators. The winners in the new tender will sign an eight-year contract with the government, during which it will undertake to provide supplementary financing for the incubators. Under the tender's terms, companies that undertake to make follow-on investments in the incubators' portfolio companies will have priority, giving big companies an edge in the tender.

Government support for incubator project will remain more or less the same as in the past at 85% of the approved budget, up to a maximum of NIS 1.7 million per company in central Israel and NIS 2.12 million per company in the periphery. An additional several hundred thousand shekels is possible for cyber, medical, and biotechnology companies.

Philips Healthcare already has hundreds of employees at its Haifa development center. Next door, GE also has hundreds of employees, invests in start-ups, and is in contact with the Office of the Chief Scientist. It is considering channeling some of its activity through an incubator, not necessarily just in the life sciences, through GE Healthcare. GE Israel and Intel Israel also collaborate in an innovations laboratory.

Microsoft, which already operates the Microsoft Israel R&D Center, is also considering bidding in the incubator tender.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 13, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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