Monday, March 23, 2015

Alibaba to Invest in Israeli VC Fund JVP

Source: WSJ

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba has invested in Israel-based venture fund JVP (Jerusalem Venture Partners), the latter announced this morning in its annual meeting in Jerusalem.

According to one person familiar with the matter Alibaba has joined in JVP’s seventh fund as a limited partner with an investment of $15 millions of dollars. Alibaba could not be immediately reached for comment.

Focused on cyber security investments, JVP was the main shareholder in Cyberark, which started trading on the NASDAQ in September, currently with a market capital of $1.49 billion.

Earlier this month PayPal announced the acquisition of CyActive, one of the first companies to join a cyber-security focused incubation program JVP established in Israel’s southern city Be’er-Sheva.

And while Alibaba is interested in cyber security related deal-flow, according to the person familiar with the matter it is even more interested in technologies related to storage and networks – another cluster JVP invests in.

Such technologies could help the Chinese eCommerce behemoth reduce operational costs related to running massive data centers. The pace of tech deals between Chinese and Israeli firms has been picking up over the last two years, spurred by the efforts of both governments. 

In 2014 Chinese-Israeli tech deals totaled $300 million, up from $50 million in 2013, according to Israel’s National Economic Council.

In December Alibaba made its first ever investment in an Israeli startup, with an investment in QR technology startup Visualead.

By becoming a limited partner in JVP’s funds, Alibaba is joining Qihoo 360, another Chinese web company to have invested in the Jerusalem based VC.