1 October 2015 - 18 Tishri 5776 - י"ח תשרי ה' אלפים תשע"ו
Israeli company Freigthos wins Grand Award in Hong Kong E-mail

Six budding entrepreneurs from Israel, Hong Kong, the UK and the US were named champions of the 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme, the second global startup contest designed and staged by Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK).

InvestHK is the department of the Hong Kong SAR Government established in July 2000 to attract foreign direct investment and support overseas and Mainland businesses to set up or expand in Hong Kong. It provides advice and customised services to help businesses. Since its establishment InvestHK has completed over 3300 investment projects worth around HK$88 billion of investment.

Last November, after the two final rounds of pitching in front of judges and attendees at the StartmeupHK Venture Forum 2014, Freightos (an Israelbased company incorporated in Hong Kong), Perseus Telecom and Scoutbots were named winners of the three Grand Awards.

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Alibaba Group invests in Israeli start-up company Visualead E-mail

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba has entered the Israeli market and will invest in Israeli start-up Visualead, which operates in the Chinese market and has developed a QR Code solution.

This is Alibaba’s first ever investment in an Israeli company. Before the current investment, Visualead had raised US$2.4 million in two fund raising rounds.

Visualead released a press statement in which it confirmed that it has secured B-round funding from Alibaba Group Holding Limited. Alibaba Group and Visualead also entered into a strategic cooperation agreement for the use of Visualead’s patents and technology across Alibaba Group’s ecosystem. Visualead will use the proceeds from the funding to develop next generation of Offline to Online technology (O2O). Visualead will also be working closely with Mashangtao, the scannable code technology service of Alibaba Group, to provide innovative tools and solutions to sellers on Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com, China’s two biggest online shopping platforms.

Mashangtao recently utilised Visualead’s Visual QR Code technology to enable merchants to generate QR Codes. Visualead and Mashangtao are also engaged in joint projects in the areas of anti-counterfeiting, mobile and video.

“We have already seen O2O as a major area of growth in China. Working with Visualead, a dynamic startup and first-mover in this field, is the next logical step as we seek to enhance customer engagement on mobile platforms. We believe that Visualead’s leading Visual QR Code technology will compliment our mobile marketing initiatives and enhance our ability to take advantage of the booming O2O opportunities in China,” said Zhang Kuo, Director of Alibaba Group’s Mashangtao technology service.

Nevo Alva, CEO of Visualead, said: “Alibaba is the ideal strategic partner for distributing our technology in China and the leading O2O company worldwide. We are humbled to have Alibaba as a shareholder and on our Board of Directors, committed to making our Visual QR Code the new worldwide standard for Offline to Online engagement.”

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Hebrew University’s Integra Holdings receives investment E-mail

Integra Holdings, the biotechnology holdings company of Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has received a US$3 million investment from China’s Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group.

The funds raised will be used to advance Integra Holdings’ existing portfolio companies and to create new companies, based on promising projects originating from the Hebrew University.

Integra Holdings, founded by Yissum in 2012, has a portfolio of companies in such therapeutic areas such as oncology, Alzheimer’s disease, infectious diseases, analgesia and inflammation. The innovative products developed by the portfolio companies range in maturity from pre-clinical stages of development, through clinical stages, to registration. Currently, the portfolio includes Ayana, Atox Bio, Avraham Pharmaceuticals, Lipomedix, Tiltan Pharma, Lipocure and HIL Applied Medical, in addition to two new companies, which are now being established and develop products with expected short time to market.

Investors in Integra Holdings are Invatech Holdings, a group of private US and Israeli investors; Halman-Aldubi Provident and Pension Fund; the Funds of Teaching Personnel and the HUJI Provident Fund. Integra Holdings has raised a total of US$12 million to date.

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Kurita Industries to buy ICL’s water treatment and chemical arm APW E-mail

Japan’s leading water treatment company, Kurita Water Industries Ltd has purchased ICL (Israel Chemical Ltd) APW business units based in Ludwigshafen and Düsseldorf, Germany, as well as other additional ICL PP (Performance Product) venues in Europe and China. This includes ICL chemical additives business for the paper industry and related aluminium compounds. The announcement was made on 27 October and the purchase price is estimated to be around US$316 million.

The combination of ICL’s water solutions business with Kurita’s water technologies will help the company develop a more advanced platform to collectively build a global footprint. The paper solutions business will accelerate Kurita’s expansion of its product offering into new markets through existing relationships.

The sale of the APW business units is part of ICL’s ‘Next Step Forward’ strategy launched in late 2013. The strategy calls for ICL to divest its non-core businesses to focus on its core businesses in the agriculture, food and engineered materials markets and to optimize its positioning in those markets. The products manufactured by the APW businesses sold to Kurita were not based on ICL’s core minerals.

Commenting on the sale of the APW business units, ICL President & CEO, Stefan Borgas, stated, “ICL is executing its strategy by focusing on its core business, and it will use the proceeds from the sale of APW, as well as from the divestment of additional non-core assets, to strengthen ICL’s core businesses in the agriculture, food and engineered materials markets, pursue operational excellence, build out ICL’s distinctive mineral assets and technologies, and expand our global presence, especially in emerging markets.”

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Carmel Ventures receives investments from Chinese tech companies E-mail

Israeli venture capital firm Carmel Ventures announced that it has closed a fourth round of funding worth a total of US$194 million. The latest round includes investment from Chinese tech companies Baidu and Qihoo 360.

The opportunity to connect with Carmel will give the companies a window into Israel’s fascinating tech startup scene, as the firm invests primarily in early-stage tech companies. In fact, Carmel began investing out of this fourth funding round back in January of this year, and has already put money into PlayBuzz, LuckyFish, and three other “promising early stage technology companies.”

“We are delighted to be making our first investment in an Israeli Venture fund with Carmel Ventures,” said Daniel Tu, Group Chief Innovation Officer at Ping An Group of China. “Carmel offers us reliable access to Israeli innovation and we look forward to partnering with them.”

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