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German-American Techno Venture fund invests $4m in Talia Medical Technology

Diagnostic equipment targeted for use by glaucoma and diabetic markets

Opthamology diagnostics equipment company

Talia Technology

has secured $4 million in a financing round, based on a post-money company valuation of $26 million.

The equity was placed with German-American venture fund Techno Venture management, which invested the entire amount.

Talia was established in 1992. The company was founded by Avner Karpol and Emauel Binnun, who were both involved in founding Optrotech. Binnun, the CTO and active chairman, today explained that for the first few years the company was devoted to customized electro-optics systems. Three years ago the firm changed its focus to retinal visualization products.

Binnun and Karpol still own 50% of the company. Another 25% of its shares are held by private investors worldwide, who invested $4 million through United States-based investment bank CCM. Binnun says the total funds raised by the company, including founders' investments and A. Heifetz, the first company to invest with Talia, amounts to $13 million.

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The company employs 22 people in its offices in Neve Ilan, near Jerusalem. Most staff members are development professionals, working on innovative technology for retinal visualization. The company's flagship product is a diagnostic devise used to diagnose and treat glaucoma and retinal complications from diabetes.

Talia began selling its equipment in the U.S. and Europe after receiving FDA approval as early as 1996. Talia began marketing its upgraded product last year. Sales in 2000 were $1.3 million and Binnun says the company expects sales to rise to $5 million next year. Talia's main markets are in the US, Europe and Japan.

Binnun adds that the TVM investment is crucial as the fund is a leader in its field. He says the latest round of financing coupled with expected sales should last the company until its projected IPO in 2002.

Talia's main competitors are

Carl Zeiss

a huge optical group with products designed for the same target market, Heidelberg Engineering, and Leaser diagnostics. Binnun estimates that the ophthalmology diagnostic equipment market is worth $600 million annually, and believes the visualization section amounts to $200 million each year.