5 November 2019 - 7 Heshvan 5780 - ז' חשון ה' אלפים תש"פ
Lotte eying investment opportunities Print E-mail

South Korean food conglomerate Lotte is currently scouting for Israeli startups and technologies.

Lotte Chairman, Shin Dong-bin, paid a visit to Israel in August and met with Minister of Economy, Eli Cohen, as well as executives from the Israeli tech ecosystem. Shin is looking for companies in the domains of artificial intelligence, big data, and logistics systems, a Lotte press release stated.

During his visit to Israel, Shin also met with startups that participated in The Bridge, a Tel-Aviv startup commercialization programme, as well as companies represented by Israel-based Pitango Venture Capital and Israeli Foodtech Incubator, The Kitchen.

(Issue Sep 2019)

Harel Insurance to work with Tokio Marine on technology collaboration E-mail

Israel’s Harel Insurance Group was chosen by Japan’s largest multinational insurance company, Tokio Marine Holdings, to collaborate in founding Israeli hi-tech companies in the innovation and digital sectors.

According to the agreement, Harel Group and Tokio Marine will identify Israeli companies that specialise in innovative technologies and services, and will allow Harel Group access to the cutting-edge technological infrastructure of Tokio Marine.

Attendees at the signing ceremony in July included Makoto Okada (Executive VP, Chief Strategy & Digital Officer; Tokio Marine Holdings Inc) and Yair Hamburger (Chairman, Harel Insurance Group), accompanied by other members of senior leadership from both companies.

This collaboration positions Harel as a leading Israeli financial group that integrates stateof the-art technologies in the group’s business processes. The Harel Group will enable Israeli startups to introduce themselves to investors from Israel and around the world through the arrangement with Tokio Marine.

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UVeye raises funds from Toyota Group and other investors E-mail

Israeli company UVeye (short for Under Vehicle Eye), which provides solutions for automatic external inspection of vehicles, has raised U$35 million in a round led by Japanese affiliate Toyota Tsusho – the trading arm of Toyota Group.

UVeye was founded by brothers Amir and Ohad Hever in 2016. The company currently employs 80 people, 70 of them based Israel. It plans to use the money raised to expand its workforce in the burgeoning Start-up State. Amir Hever previously founded Visual Lead, which was sold to Alibaba in 2015 for an amount estimated at the time at US$6-9 million.

UVeye was initially developed as a security company, and its systems were installed at sensitive sites such as embassies, military bases, and ports, tasked with the aim of detecting bombs, drug smuggling, and similar threats. Two years ago, the company decided to develop into the auto and technical spheres- that is, using its existing systems to identify faults in vehicles.

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Shiji Group acquires Tel-Aviv based MyCheck E-mail

Beijing-headquartered Shiji Group, which provides software and services for the hospitality, retail, and entertainment industries, will acquire Tel-Aviv-based MyCheck.

Otherwise incorporated as Quick Check, the company announced the acquisition in June. No financial data of the deal was disclosed.

MyCheck, which offers a mobile payment app with a focus on the hospitality industry, was co-founded in 2011 by CEOs Shlomit Kugler, Tal Nethanel, Erez Spatz, and Asaf Talmor Wertheimer (the stepson of Israeli businessman Eitan Wertheimer, who also invested in the company).

In 2015, after raising over US$20 million, the company pivoted from a B2B product to a B2C product. In late 2017 the company ran into financial trouble as stakeholders barred further investments, leading the company to request — and receive — a stay of proceedings order in February 2018.

A month later the company was acquired for NIS 4.6 million by O.G. Tech Partners, an early stage fund owned by Israeli real estate and shipping magnate Eyal Ofer.

“The company has been on a growth trajectory in the past year,” Kugler said, “In a large part thanks to the connections of the Ofer Global group in the hospitality industry. [Thanks to them,] We have gained customers in the UK and in Asia.”

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EL AL to launch flights to Tokyo E-mail

El Al Israel Airlines Ltd recently announced that it will begin operating Tel-Aviv – Tokyo flights. The thrice-weekly flights will start from March 2020.

These will be the first direct scheduled flights between Israel and Japan, although El Al’s seasonal and chartered services unit, Sun D’Or, will begin operating charter services for the Fly East Travel Company from September 2019.

At present, Israeli passengers flying to Japan must take connection flights. Flight time between Tel-Aviv and Tokyo’s Narita airport will be 11 hours and 15 minutes, with the return journey taking 12 hours 30 minutes.

Demand among Israelis for Japan, as both a vacation and business destination, has grown exponentially in recent years; 40,000 Israelis visited Japan in 2018, while 20,000 Japanese came to Israel. The numbers of Israelis visiting Japan is likely to increase significantly next year with Tokyo hosting the Olympic games.

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