Israeli tech group Shellanoo plans Tel Aviv IPO

August 28, 2016 6:31 AM EDT

A billboard advertisement for Israeli app Blindspot, which allows people to send text messages anonymously, is seen in Tel Aviv January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli technology company Shellanoo is planning to raise at least 100 million shekels ($26.5 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in late September or October, it said on Sunday.

Shellanoo, founded in 2014 and whose backers include Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and popstars and Nicki Minaj, focuses on mobile applications, online services and interactive artificial intelligence.

The company said it has been valued at $177 million by consulting firm BDO.

By staying local, Shellanoo is bucking a trend of Israeli technology companies choosing to list on foreign markets such as Nasdaq.

Company spokesman David Strauss said that Shellanoo hopes its plans will encourage more technology businesses to stay in Tel Aviv.

Among Shellanoo's investments, its website lists about two dozen mobile apps and digital platforms, some available and some in development.

One of those programs is anonymous messaging app Blindspot, which has come under fire from some parents and politicians who say it is being used as a weapon for cyber-bullying.

The IPO is being underwritten by Israeli investment bank Poalim IBI .

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by David Goodman)

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