By ALEX JACKSON ajackson@capgaznews.com | 8 comments

As Gov. Martin O’Malley’s eight-day economic development mission moved to Israel on Tuesday, it was formally announced that four Israeli technology companies have agreed to open offices in Maryland.

The O’Malley administration said in a statement that Shekel Scales opened an office in Owings Mills earlier this year. Three other firms — Askimo, Roboteam and Hybrid Security — all have plans to set up shop in Maryland.

 

O’Malley touted the companies’ Maryland commitments as a “testament to our highly educated workforce and strategic location.”

Shekel Scales, which builds electronic scales for the retail and health care industries, plans on hiring 30 people for its office in Owings Mills to assist its customers, which range from GE Healthcare to Fujitsu.

Askimo, an online education startup, had previously announced its intention to move to Maryland. The Tel Aviv-based business will open a Montgomery County office with four employees by the end of the summer.

Askimo CEO David Butnaro said in a statement that the firm’s intention “is to establish the company’s global headquarters in the U.S. and to be close to the world’s capital of communications, Washington, D.C.”

Also coming to Maryland is Roboteam, a developer of robots that can conduct search and rescue operations or survey hazardous material spills, and Hybrid Security, a cyber security software developer.

The O’Malley administration had no details on how many employees Roboteam or Hybrid Security would bring to the state. But Hybrid Security said it plans to establish a Maryland office within six months.

O’Malley left for the Middle East on Saturday. On Tuesday he and some members of his delegation visited Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

The governor was joined by Jay Perman, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore. Perman has negotiated a deal with Hebrew University of Jerusalem to increase exchanges of students, faculty and researchers.

O’Malley also met with Naftali Bennett, Israel’s minister of industry, trade and labor, and a leader of the new Bayit Hayehudi political party.

Before leaving Jordan’s capital of Amman earlier on Tuesday, O’Malley addressed a meeting of Intaj, an association representing that country’s software and information technology industry.

On Monday in Jordan, the University of Maryland College Park announced a student exchange program with the University of Jordan.