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Israeli physicist Uri Sivan, biophysicist Erez Braun and chemist Yoav Eichen go
over details of their work on miniature electrical circuits in their Technion o ce
in Haifa. The three scientists spent two years working on a revolutionary idea to
make computers smaller by using DNA molecules to 'grow" miniature circuitry.
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The IVC survey divided high-tech
companies into four categories: seed,
early stage, mid-stage and late-stage.
During the past two years, early and
mid-stage companies raised the largest
amounts of capital.
Mid-stage companies attracted 54
percent of total investments in 2002,
with $614 million, while early-stage
companies garnered 29 percent of the
total, a 40_ percent slide.
Seed companies are hardly being
supported at all by the investment
community: They received only 2 per-
cent, or $23 million, of total financ-
ing in 2002, and only 19 seed-stage
start-ups received any VC backing.
Considering that seed companies were
already down to 5 percent of total
financing in 2001, and seed and early-
stage companies together attracted less
than one-third of investment in 2002,
the figures are likely to discourage
entrepreneurs from going out on their
"The continuing decline in invest-
ments in 2002 especially impacted
seed companies," Holtzman said.
Nearly all sectors of the high-tech
industry suffered in 2002 as compared
with 2001, though the communica-
tions sector fared best, attracting 37
percent of total investment.
Software companies were also popu-
lar in 2002, with a 20 percent share
of total financing. The Internet sector,
on the other hand, collapsed to a new
low, attracting only 4 percent of total
Semiconductor firms ran counter to
this trend — raising 12 percent of the
total, triple the previous year's 4 per-
cent — as investors handed Israel's
innovative microchip industry a vote
In fact, Intel's latest chip, the
Centrino — which is scheduled to be
unveiled next week to great fanfare —
was developed in Israel.
In what might be a harbinger of the
future, however, the fourth quarter of
2002 saw life science companies —
especially those developing medical
devices — more than doubling the
financing they raised in the third
quarter. Life sciences companies
ended the year with a 15 percent
share of total financing.
With universally respected research
powerhouses such as the Weizmann
Institute of Science, the Technion-
Israel Institute of Technology and
Hebrew University — all of which
have spawned government-supported
biotech incubators or spun off for-
profit commercialization arms — plus
the Rehovot Science Park, Israel is at
the forefront of advanced life sciences,
which offer the prospect of better
medical treatment and drug therapies.
Riding this trend — Forbes maga-
zine reports that 20 percent of VC
investment worldwide went to life
science companies last year, up dra-
matically from 8 percent in 2000 —
is likely to be healthy for Israel's
economy, as well as for patients
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