21 August 2019 - 20 Av 5779 - כ' אב ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Israeli-Japanese Magenta tech fund seeks to raise US$100 million focused on early startups E-mail

Israeli VC firm Magenta Venture Partners announced on 14 January a new venture capital fund that aims to raise US$100 million. The new fund had its initial closing in October last year and is planning a final closing sometime this year.

Magenta Venture Partners is an equal partnership between Mitsui & Co. Ltd., one of the largest trading and investment companies in Japan, and Ori Israely and Ran Levitzky, two seasoned Israeli professionals from the country’s venture capital industry

The fund specialises in early-stage investments in Israeli and Israeli-related technology startups in multiple domains, including Automotive, Mobility, AI, Smart Cities, Industry 4.0, Enterprise Software and Fintech.

The four partners of the fund are Ori Israely, Managing General Partner of Magenta and formerly of Motorola Solutions Venture Capital and Giza Venture Capital; Hiroshi Takeuchi of Mitsui, who has relocated to Israel after 15 years of venture investment experience in Japan and the US; Ran Levitzky, formerly from Viola Ventures, where he co-led investments in early stage startups, and who earlier held roles at Amdocs, Microsoft and Verint Systems, and Atsushi Mizuno from Mitsui’s investment arm, who has over 10 years’ experience investing into Israeli companies and who has been living in Israel for the past four years.

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Chinese delegation visits Israel to research cannabis Print E-mail

With the recent governmental announcement that Israel will be facilitating more active investment into cannabis medical research and exports, a delegation of Chinese businessmen and academic researchers in the fields of technology and agriculture arrived in Israel last month to meet with Israeli cannabis researchers.

Israel is considered a leader when it comes to medical cannabis-related research, with both the Government and academia having participated actively in this field for decades. Raphael Mechoulam, a professor of medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was the first person to identify the main psychoactive constituent in cannabis, THC.

The country’s relatively advanced regulatory framework when it comes to medical trials with cannabinoids facilitates research: over 70 startups developing cannabis-related technology and products currently operate in Israel, most of them established in recent years. Last month Tel Aviv-based cannabis inhaler company Syqe Medical Ltd. raised a US$50 million funding round.

As part of the visit, the delegation aimed to seek scientific collaborations. Ascher Shmulewitz, chairman of Israeli cannabis company Therapix Biosciences Ltd., accompanied the delegation during the visit.

(Issue Feb 2019)

Singapore Technologies to test self-driving buses in the city of Ashdod E-mail

Self-driving buses developed by Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering will soon be tested in the port city of Ashdod in Israel.

The company will begin developing and testing autonomous buses next year under an agreement signed on 30 October at the sixth annual Smart Mobility Summit in Tel Aviv. It will also set up a new research and development centre in Israel to support the development of autonomous buses, and will collaborate with Ashdod, Israel’s sixth-largest city, on other transportation matters, such as a fleet management system for public buses and an intelligent transport system for traffic management.

“Using big data analytics and machine learning, these solutions will improve the service quality of [the city’s] transport systems and enhance commuter experience through real-time traffic and commuter sensing, supervisory and control capabilities, as well as early warning of potential service disruptions,” said a spokesperson for ST Engineering.

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Japanese insurance firm Sompo to invest in Israeli startups E-mail

As reported by Reuters, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance announced that it was expanding into Israel with the launch of an innovation lab that will focus on investments in technology startups.

The Israeli hub, which will invest in startups in the fields of insurance technology, mobility, health, elder care, home care, remote medical care, blockchain, “the internet of things” and cybersecurity, will be Sompo’s third, after Tokyo and Silicon Valley.

Sompo, a core unit of Sompo Holdings, did not disclose financial details. It said its Israeli office will seek out potential startups in which to invest while also focusing on collaborations for new products for the Japanese and global markets.

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SOSA innovation platform to set up hubs in India E-mail

South of Salame (SOSA), an open innovation platform from Israel, is investigating setting up tech innovation hubs in at least three Indian states: Maharashtra, Assam and Goa.

SOSA CEO Uzi Scheffer has said that almost 100 startups can access innovation networks each year. With the help of these innovation hubs, Indian startups get a platform to reach out to like-minded associates and corporates in several spaces, such as fintech, big data, clean tech, insuretech, mobility solutions, cyber security, etc.

In May, Intel, along with the Israel Consulate General to South India, announced a cooperative strategy to develop innovation and technology while linking startups in both countries.

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