Thursday, August 27, 2015

Israel, China medical technology incubators set up shop in Singapore

THE Republic looks set to become a hothouse in Asia for medical technology, as two medtech incubators from Israel and China set up shop here to develop healthcare products for their commercialisation in bigger markets, such as China and the US.

"Now is an opportune time for medtech," said Todd Dollinger and Steve Rhodes, co-chairmen and chief executives of Israel-based Trendlines.

They told BT: "In China, health spending as a share of GDP was 5.6 per cent in 2013, well below the OECD average of 8.9 per cent, while that of the US is 16.4 per cent. Clearly, China must increase spending while the US must bring down costs. Regardless, both countries need quality health products at economically appropriate prices. This presents a tremendous opportunity for medtech."

Founded in 2007, Trendlines invents, discovers, invests in, and incubates medical and agricultural technologies, and is looking to list on Singapore Exchange in November, said Dr Dollinger and Mr Rhodes.

"Even though Singapore has almost no market for agriculture, its tech, research, hospital, logistics and food processing capabilities lend potential for such an incubator here," they said. Slated for launch in Q1 2016, it will hire at least six local staff with strengths in business development, who will first undergo training in Israel.

Currently, Trendlines' Israel-based team of over 30 engineers, scientists and business analysts screen about 500 medtech proposals yearly to identify promising early-stage technologies for incubation. That it partners these new technologies from early days is a "high risk" investment, said Mr Rhodes, but one that is mitigated by the incubator taking an initial large equity position (50-100 per cent) and being extremely involved in the operations of their portfolio companies.

"Even so, we're more flexible than a venture capital fund," said Dr Dollinger. "Venture capitalists are always looking at the clock. At Trendlines, we are not committed to exit our companies at a certain stage or invest at certain times."

Trendlines' portfolio companies - at least six of 60 have exited via a trade sale or public listing - receive up to US$1.1 million in funding, which comprises an Israeli government grant of about US$558,000, a Trendlines' cash investment of about US$98,000 and a follow-up in-kind investment of US$400,000.

Among its investors are many high net worth individuals and corporates from Singapore, said both men. "Singapore and Israel have a long history of R&D and government engagements. Singapore also has a strong interest in Israeli technology and entrepreneurial knowhow, and is both a wonderful ecosystem and a welcoming environment," they added.

Meanwhile, Incubator in China, one of China's newest and largest medtech and pharmaceutical incubators, now has a Singapore presence via homegrown tech incubator Venturecraft. Fresh from launching a S$4 million working capital fund earlier this year, Venturecraft recently partnered and invested in the Chinese incubator, making it a one-stop platform in Singapore for startups looking to commercialise their products or drugs in China.

Venturecraft's services include providing - in China - access to clinical trials, distribution to hospitals and localised marketing strategies; facilitating regulatory approvals and grants from the Chinese government, and even offering rent-free offices at its premises in Hangzhou.

"This is all part of continuing efforts to become a leading bridge in Asia for Singapore and global companies to foray into China," said Isaac Ho, managing partner of Singapore HealthTech, the private investment firm behind Venturecraft.

Mr Ho added that Incubator in China boasts many of China's top medical experts including government and private hospitals chiefs, as well as IP and regulatory experts, reputable distribution partners, R&D laboratories and government agencies.

Moreover, Venturecraft is exploring an initial public offer in "an appropriate market". Said Mr Ho: "Since Venturecraft operates as an evergreen structure, in the future when we have built enough portfolio and assets, we will explore a listing in order to unlock our shareholders' value."

Just last week, Singapore's medtech industry got a fillip from two other announcements. EDBI, the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said it has invested in Massachusetts-based life science tools company Rapid Micro Biosystems, while homegrown accelerator JFDI said it has partnered Germany's Medical Innovations Incubator to "power" pioneering medtech startup bootcamps and an accelerator in Germany; both are said to lead to technology transfer and job-creation opportunities here.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Israeli Startup Takes First Place at Shengjing Global Innovation Awards 2015

Israel Proves Its Place in Global Startup Scene with Impressive Achievements DiaCardio wins 1st place Wayerz comes in 5th place  The competition, led in Israel by venture capital fund JVP, with Chinese consulting firm Shengjing360 ‎, featured 21 startups from countries including the US, ChinaIsraelEurope and Latin America

Impressive achievement for the Israeli representatives in the final round of the Shengjing Global Innovation Awards 2015, a global startup competition held in China featuring 21 startups from around the world: China (10), the US (5), Israel (3), Europe and Latin America (3) competed for $1.5 million in cash prizes.

In first place came DiaCardio, which developed a revolutionary software that radically changes the way echocardiograms are decoded, while Wayerz, which developed a platform for inter-bank charges (billing) while providing management, commands and control of inter-bank processes in real time, came in fifth place.

The winners were selected on the basis of rankings by 13 judges from around the world and real-time rankings of the startup companies by an audience of over 1000 people. ‎In addition to cash prizes totaling $1.5 million, the startups were given the chance to present their technological solutions to investors, as well as to leading technology groups from China and around the world, including Menlo Ventures. The winners were announced in a competition held in Beijing with an audience of over 1,000 people in the final event of the competition that was held in four geographical locations over a period of more than eight months.

The top 5 startups will share $1 million in cash prizes, each receiving $200,000‎. The startups which came in 6th to 10th place will each receive $100,000 in cash. All of the finalists will also embark on a road show and series of meetings with Chinese internet giants Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, JD.com, and Xiaomi over the next few days. The Shengjing Group is also contemplating investment in some of the startup companies through a dedicated investment fund which was set up for the competition.

The competition was initiated by Chinese consulting firm Shengjing360. The finals in Beijing are part of the five-day Zhongguancun International Entrepreneur Festival, attracting entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world. The festival is sponsored by the Chinese government, which considers innovation as an important growth engine. ‎

Israel was represented in the competition by Israel's ambassador to China, Matan Vilnai, JVP partner Yoav Tzruya, and Dr. Orna Berry, Corporate Vice President Growth and Innovation EMC Centers of Excellence EMEA and the US. The Israeli delegation received an impressive welcome, and the three were asked to be key speakers at the event. ‎Yoav Tzruya and Dr. Orna Berry even served as judges in the competition.‎

‎Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) led the competition in Israel, in collaboration with top Israeli academic institutions, leading technology companies and service providers, which assisted in the process and selection of the finalists. They included ‎EMC, Deutsche Telecom, HFN, PwC, IDC Executive Education and Yissum.‎

The Israeli competition was launched in February 2015. Nine startups, out of the 180 ventures from across the Israeli high tech spectrum, reached the semi-finals. Three Israeli startups were then chosen to represent Israel in the global finals in Beijing.

The participation of Israeli startups in the event garnered great interest from the audience, in particular from dozens of the Chinese media outlets covering it. ‎

DiaCardio was represented in the competition by Hila Goldman-Aslan, and the company's chairman, Arnon Toussia-Cohen. DiaCardio is a software company which radically changes the manner in which cardiograms (ultrasound exams of the heart) are decoded, using unique algorithms it has developed. These algorithms decode the main parameters of the heart's functioning in a quick, accurate and automated manner. The software integrates easily with all eco-cardiograph machines and has received FDA approval and CE marking.

Hila Goldman-Aslan: "We are thrilled and proud to have won first place. It was a fascinating and empowering experience. The competition proves that Israel is home to promising technological initiatives. The competition opens up investment opportunities by Chinese investors, and we believe that winning it will advance the recognition of the ground-breaking technology that we have developed at DiaCardio."

According to JVP partner Yoav Tzruya, who accompanied the competition from its very beginning and served as a judge in the finals: "‎Innovation is still one of the Israeli economy's main competitive advantages, and we are pleased to see Israeli ventures receive such global recognition. The competition presented a unique opportunity for Israeli startup companies to penetrate the Chinese market as well as other international markets. In light of the latest macroeconomic developments, it is clear that technological innovation is key to continued solid growth and a country's ability to differentiate itself. Great powers, such as China, allocate extensive resources to create and leverage innovation. ‎Israel should harness the startup culture and innovative ventures to gain a major foothold in this market. ‎We were pleased to collaborate with Shengjing, an innovation pioneer in China, as well as with multinationals such as EMC and Deutsche Telekom, and academia in the form of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in order to select the ventures that represent Israeli innovation in various fields." ‎


Deutsche Telekom To Invest €100M In Israeli Startups

According to a report in “TheMarker”, the German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom will invest € 100 million in Israeli high-tech in the coming years. The company will invest through its venture capital arm, and the investment process will be led by Guy Horowitz, the former CEO of Deutsche Telekom in Israel. In addition, Amit Keren has been appointed to the position of business developer for Deutsche Telekom in Israel.

Deutsche Telekom is headquartered in Bonn, Germany and is headed by CEO and Chairman Timotheus Hotteges.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The startup scene in Israel is going bonkers, and the Chinese are swooping in

This summer, it’s raining unicorns — tech startups valued at more than $1 billion — and as a result the Israeli tech scene is going absolutely crazy.

Business Insider just spent a week in Israel meeting with over a dozen tech companies and VCs. They all told us: Everyone is dreaming of becoming the next unicorn. Instead of selling their startups for $1 million to $30 million, founders are turning down multimillion acquisition offers, wanting to build big companies.

2015 is a record-breaker for VC funding. For the first half in 2015, 342 companies have attracted $2.1 billion, up from 334 companies nabbing $1.6 billion in the first half of 2014.

The private-equity bankers have arrived in droves, including Blackstone, SilverLake, KKR, Apax Partners, TPG, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley, and they're writing huge checks.

Chinese investors are swarming the country, joining Israeli VC funds as limited partners as well as doing a lot of huge, direct investments into startups, too. "If we're going to do $4 billion in venture in 2015, the estimate I heard is that at least $500 million of that will be Chinese money, and that’s direct investment not including the LP stuff," Israeli powerhouse VC Jon Medved told Business Insider. "And I think that’s probably underestimated.” Medved, founder of investment startup OurCrowd, is widely known as one of the fathers of Israel’s tech-startup scene.

Chinese investors are “at all the parties” a startup founder told us. The joke here is that Israeli border control needs to open up a special customs line “just for Chinese investors with bags of money that they can just get in the country for free,” Medved quipped. This hot economy has led to ... Big, well-funded Israeli companies starting to acquire other Israeli companies for big sums of money, too. The first crop of Israeli serial entrepreneurs, such as Avigdor Willens, who sold Annapurna to Amazon earlier this year for a reported $350 million to $375 million. Willens sold his first company, Galileo, for $2.7 billion in stock back in 2000 to Marvell Technologies.

It started when Google dropped a billion on Waze

When Google bought Waze for $1 billion in 2013, it was a milestone event for the country, says Medved. “Billion-dollar companies are now all over the place.

Waze was the first and most important,” he told us. Waze cofounder Uri Levine explained to Business Insider, “This was the first time a billion-dollar app, and a consumer app, came out of Israel,” and it set “a new beacon for Israel” telling entrepreneurs to aim higher than a quick exit.

The next year, Japan's Rakuten (the eBay of Japan) acquired Israeli messaging app Viber for $900 million, and unicorn fever in the country began. Over and over, startup founders told us they had no interest in selling their successful companies — some of which were doing millions of dollars in revenue, and some of which were doing hundreds of millions in revenue. They wanted to grow their companies past $1 billion to many billions.

“Israel entrepreneurs are obsessed with building unicorns,” Hillel Fuld, CMO of Israeli startup Zula told us.

Billion-dollar startups include:

Taboola (who raised $117 million in February, $157 million total);

IronSource (who raised $105 million in two rounds from private-equity funds run by JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley);

Outbrain (who filed confidential SEC documents for an IPO at a reported $1 billion valuation);

Conduit, who said it was the first Israeli internet unicorn;

MobileEye: IPO’d in 2014, $12 billion market cap today

CyberArk: IPO’d in 2014, market cap of about $2 billion

Wix: IPO’d in 2013, market cap of about $900 million

And there are some half-unicorns, like Varonis Systems, which IPO’d in 2014 and has a market cap of nearly $600 million — nothing to sneeze at.

Asian money everywhere 

"The Asia stuff is very dramatic, very real and very new," says Medved. "China is the big story. But Japan, for example — there had never been a visit of a Japanese prime minister to Israel before, in all the years of Israel’s existence.

What did they have to come here for? This year, the Japanese prime minister shows up for four days, all tech.”

Meanwhile, Korea’s Samsung Ventures has now made "eight investments here over the last year," says Medved. Plus, "there are now Israeli companies going to list on the Singapore exchange."

Israel will also be hosting the Indian prime minister for the first time.

In February, Indian company Infosys (now run by SAP’s former US CTO Vishal Sikka) bought Israeli company Panaya for $200 million. India has plans to build a research and development center here.

Still, China overshadows them all. Investments are pouring in from Baidu, Fosun, Alibaba, Tencent, RenRen, and others.

Famous Chinese angel investor (and billionaire) Li Ka Shing and his Horizon Ventures fund are all over the country. Horizon was an early investor in Waze. And he’s invested in about 29 Israeli startups, including Waze founder Levine’s latest baby, FeeX, (raised $9 million).

If there's a downside to all of this, it's that Israel is starting to experience a severe talent shortage. They are now poaching each other's employees and trying to keep employees from leaving by offering better and better Valley-like perks.

IronSource, for example, flies its 550 employees to one exotic off-site meeting every year. The whole company just got back from Greece. "Once a year, we party," CEO Tomer Bar Zeev told us. "That builds culture. It's one of the best investments we can make, investing in the company." If that fails, Chinese billionaire Li Ka Shing has an answer.

He also donated $130 million to Israel’s Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology (like the MIT of Israel), one of the largest ever donations received by an Israeli university.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sol Chip Completed a $5 million Series B Round, Led by Hong Kong Investor

Israeli start-up company Sol Chip completed Series B funding round of $5 million. Hong Kong based Dowell Property Holdings Limited led the round and invested $4 million.

Sol Chip, originated from Misgav incubator operated by The Trendlines Group, is a worldwide leading energy harvesting company that offers a unique maintenance-free Everlasting Solar Battery and IoT communication platforms.

Sol Chip’s IoT platform provides low power communication module coupled with self-sustaining energy harvesting technology. Due to Sol Chip’s breakthrough energy efficient design, Sol Chip’s IoT platform reduces overall system operation costs by over 60% compared to any other alternatives in the market these days.

Sol Chip’s technology provides a power and communication solutions for disruptive fields such as Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable tech. The Light Battery provides a 24/7 solution of the solar technology and the electronics - all in one sealed package including high voltage capabilities.

The company's Autonomous IoT Power & Communication Module enables maintenance free monitoring and control of IoT systems. Through its patented technology, Sol Chip integrates all the required components in a single power & communication module — to harvest and supply sustainable solar/light energy to low-power applications and to provide autonomous communication.

Dowell Property Holdings Limited is an investment holding company traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with a market cap of more than $100. 


Monday, August 10, 2015

Lenovo, Shengjing to Invest in Canaan Partners Israel

Izhar Shay, founder of Canaan Partners Israel closed recently the fundraising for the newly formed Israel based venture capital fund Canaan Partners Israel. Shay raised a total of $60 million from investors in Asia, Europe and the US.

Chinese computer giant Lenovo invested $10 million in the new fund. Chinese venture fund Shengjing also invested $8 million. Other investors are Canaan Partners and George Conrades, Chairman of Akamai.

The new fund will invest in early stage Israeli start-ups from the mobile, enterprise software, web applications and social networking. Canaan Partners Israel already invested $2 million in Rollout.io, an Israeli start-up company which developed a system to identify and fix bugs in mobile apps.



Thursday, August 6, 2015

China's Sino Biopharmaceutical to Invest In Israeli Medical Company LifeBond

LifeBond, a leader in the development of bio-surgical medical devices for tissue repair, announced today it has closed a $27M Series D preferred equity investment. Participants in the round include Pitango Venture Capital, Adams Street Partners, Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd., and all existing investors.

LifeSeal™ is designed to minimize post-operative complications such as staple-line leakage in GI and bariatric surgeries. Anastomotic (point of surgical connection) leakage after a colorectal resection is associated with significant mortality and morbidity, with anastomotic leakage occurring in as many as 15-19% of patients.

LifeSeal™ was developed to address the unmet surgical need for a sealant that provides a protective layer that can reduce anastomotic leakage.

“LifeSeal is a novel product that addresses an urgent unmet need that industry has not been able to solve for, until now. The product has the potential to greatly reduce surgical leaks, which are associated with potential infections and other serious complications, risking the lives of hundreds of thousands every year,” said Ittai Harel, chairman of the board of LifeBond and a general partner at Pitango.

Mr. Harel continued, “The Company has in recent years made great advances, with compelling pilot clinical results, commercialization prep, and an expanding surgical product line offering, as evidenced by the strong support from the investment community. We are pleased to continue and support, and be part of, the evolution and development of LifeBond.”

“I would like to thank our investors, from Israel, Europe, the Far East, and the US for their strong support, commitment and trust in LifeBond’s technology, strategy and management,” Said LifeBond CEO, Mr. Gideon Sturlesi. Mr. Sturlesi continued, “Today the success of these many years of hard work is apparent and has clearly been endorsed both by the medical as well as financial community. The technology can be applied to create a nearly endless pipeline of products. And based on the feedback and enthusiasm of leading surgeons worldwide, we have industry confirmation that our technology and products have the potential to effectively fill a large unmet need. Moving forward we plan to methodically continue implementing our existing strategy with the goal of bringing our products to market as soon as possible.”