Showing posts with label singapore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label singapore. Show all posts

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Singapore’s Temasek backs Israel $150m VC fund

Temasek Holdings, a Singapore government investment company, is in the final stretch of raising a $150 million fund to invest in mature Israeli high-tech company.

The new fund, called Red Dot, which is nicknamed for the tony city state, plans to invest between $10 million and $15 million in each company in its portfolio.

Yoram Oren, who was behind the Vertex Ventures fund formed in 1997 with Singaporean capital, will be chairman of the new fund. It will act as a sister investor to Vertex, which will continue to invest in younger startups.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Vertex Gets $857m from Temasek, will invest in US, Israel and China

Published on the Straits Times 3/10/2015

Armed with a war chest of US$600 million (S$857 million), Singapore's largest and oldest venture capital firm is going global.

The infusion of cash will allow Vertex Venture Holdings to invest in start-ups in the hot seats of innovation and technological disruption - United States, Israel and China - after having been mainly focused on Singapore and Asia.

Chief executive Chua Kee Lock identified healthcare as a new area of funding in addition to its ongoing interest in technology, media and Internet-based start-ups. The funds will be invested in firms ready to expand with proven products and revenue streams, he told The Straits Times.

Typically, each start-up in this growth phase would receive funding of $2 million or more.

Europe is the only region that has no Vertex presence but Mr Chua said he is looking to open an office there. Vertex's new war chest was the result of an investment from its parent company, Temasek Holdings. Mr Chua said the success Vertex has enjoyed in the past few years gave Temasek and Vertex chairman Teo Ming Kian confidence that it could go global.
The firm's research also showed that top venture capital companies like America's Andreessen Horowitz can make returns of about 30 per cent. There will also be sustained technological disruption in various industries due to a variety of factors, including lower cost of computing and communications, he added. "The challenge for us is, can we benchmark to the best?"
Vertex thinks it can as its return on investment for its last fund of US$250 million was about 30 per cent. This fund has invested about US$190 million in around 30 start-ups in Asia. The rest of the cash will be used for follow-on funding for its portfolio companies.
Vertex was an early investor in luxury e-commerce portal Reebonz and mobile taxi app GrabTaxi. It has publicly listed about four start-ups, including mobile game developer IGG, which was listed in Hong Kong in 2013.
It has also sold another six, including Chinese app distribution platform 91 Wireless, for undisclosed figures.
Mr Chua said with a global network, Vertex can have first dibs on potential billion-dollar start-ups because it will have insight on emerging and disruptive technology trends in the world. This information can be shared across its network, giving the firm an advantage in spotting the potential winners. "Now we'll be able to match our interest with our investments." Vertex's global foray has already begun to pay off.
It will reap a tidy profit when its portfolio company, medical device maker Twelve, which it funded about four months ago for an undisclosed figure, is acquired for US$458 million by medical technology and services company Medtronic. The acquisition was announced in August.
Its global strategy focuses on co-investments with its investment partners in the US, China and Israel.
Vertex has used part of its war chest to make substantial investments in venture funds set up by its partners.
Each fund is between US$120 million and US$200 million.
"We allow our partners to form their own funds, but we also invest in their funds. They get a chance to be their own bosses but they remain part of the Vertex family. This way, the partners can help each other," said Mr Chua.
To align the interests of everyone, a small percentage of the global profit each year will be shared by the 30-man investment team in the Vertex network. 
Mr Chua noted: "This way, the partner in Israel who helps one of us in Singapore will feel that he is contributing to the pot of bonus."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Singapore Fund Singtel Innov8, JVP, Magma VC To Invest in Israeli Startup Teridion

Teridion, the Israeli based networking company that delivers the fastest internet experience announced general availability of its advanced Global Cloud Network to provide up to 20x performance improvement for end-user generated bi-directional Internet content.

The company’s solution is currently being used by more than 15 companies spanning some of the most bandwidth-demanding applications and services, such as hosting and file sharing, rich media and advertising.

Teridion also announced a total of $20 million in funding, having closed a $15 million Series B round of financing led by Singtel Innov8. Existing investors JVP and Magma also participated in the round. With the general availability of its flagship product and funding, the company will accelerate its go-to-market strategy and grow its team both in the US and internationally.

“The Internet is an incredibly powerful tool, but until now, we have struggled to take full advantage of its capabilities. It’s still common for us to fall victim to slow response times and volatile connections,” said Elad Rave, founder and CEO of Teridion. “We are breaking down these boundaries and providing users with a seamless Internet experience – no matter their location, device or application. It’s our goal for our SaaS customers to be able to generate additional customer loyalty, and the funding and general availability of our product are major steps in this direction.”

Meeting the Demands of Modern Applications and Services

Today’s applications and services need to deliver content to users at unprecedented speeds, without sacrificing quality or reliability. As these technologies continue to advance, the effectiveness of traditional content delivery and WAN optimization approaches are diminishing. Teridion solves this fundamental problem by providing a high performance, reliable Internet experience that addresses the low latency, highly dynamic applications brought to market everyday. Early customer deployments have shown up to 20x improvement in Internet performance, offering an opportunity for organizations to build applications without compromise. With Teridion, businesses achieve new levels of customer engagement and retention, ultimately driving up revenue.

“Enterprise businesses rely on the flexibility of the Egnyte platform to securely share files, collaborate and maintain control over important data, no matter the storage provider, cloud, application or device. We want our customers to be freed from worrying about Internet connectivity or their geographical location," said Kris Lahiri, vice president of operations and chief security officer at Egnyte. “Fast response times and always-on reliability are vital to IT professionals and business users alike, and Teridion helps us consistently deliver high performance across our solutions and services.”

Teridion is able to achieve this speed and reliability on SoftLayer infrastructure from IBM Cloud. Through the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program, IBM Cloud’s startup ecosystem, Teridion has received free mentoring, support and SoftLayer infrastructure via the program’s Catalyst option.

"By supporting startups like Teridion, IBM continues to reinforce its commitment to provide entrepreneurs with the mentoring and cloud technology they need to bring next generation technologies to market quickly,” said Sandy Carter, general manager for IBM Cloud’s ecosystem and developers. “Because IBM Cloud infrastructure is flexible, reliable and globally dispersed, it’s a great foundation for Teridion, which manages a large volume of traffic in order to deliver fast Internet response times to end users around the world.”

Designed for bi-directional, user-generated Internet content, Teridion features:

  • The Teridion Global Cloud Network – Bringing intelligent routing to the cloud. Proprietary algorithms and the Teridion Management System, in conjunction with Teridion Measurement Agents, provide a real-time congestion map of the Internet to find the best possible path, taking into account bandwidth, latency and geography. 
  • High performance, low latency – Up to 20x Internet performance improvements, enabling users to rethink what’s possible online.
  • Unparalleled flexibility – Teridion Cloud Routers are created on demand, providing scalability and enabling users to only pay for the resources consumed. The solution works with the largest cloud providers in the world to ensure the speed and reliability of traffic, without requiring customers to leave their cloud provider. 
  • Bolstered security – Teridion does not cache users’ data, and end-to-end SSL encryption with no termination secures data across the network. 
  • Simple onboarding – With no hardware or software to install, and quick and easy provisioning, a typical cloud customer can be connected to the network in under an hour.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Singapore cements status as MedTech hub as Isreali & Chinese incubators set up base

The entry of two new medical technology (medtech) incubators into Singapore is set to position the city state as a major Asia Pacific (APAC) medtech node.

Israel-based Trendlines has set up a Singapore arm, while Incubator in China, which is among the newest and largest medtech and pharmaceutical incubators currently in the startup space, has established a presence in the city-state via Venturecraft.

According to a Business Times report, these incubators will establish a base in the city-state to develop healthcare products for commercialisation in bigger markets, such as China and the US. The report quoted Dr Todd Dollinger and Steve Rhodes, co-chairmen and chief executives of Israel-based Trendiness,as stating, “Now is an opportune time for medtech.”

In a statement to the Business Times of Singapore, they explained, “In China, health spending as a share of GDP was 5.6 percent in 2013, well below the OECD average of 8.9 per cent, while that of the US is 16.4 percent. 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.”

Their establishment in Singapore is rooted amidst a push by biotechnology majors seeking to capitalise on growth in emerging markets. The city-state is a global trading hub, and a major re-exporter of pharmaceuticals, with pharmaceutical sales projected to grow 9.3 percent annually until 2019.

Besides Israeli and Chinese firms, existing middle market European and American pharmaceutical companies are expected to invest in Singapore’s pharmaceutical space as they seek a base to access the new markets being opened by economic growth in the Asia Pacific (APAC) and a highly educated workforce.

Focus on Trendlines

Founded in 2007, Trendlines invests in up to 10 startups every year and currently maintains more than 50 ventures in its portfolio. The Singapore edition of their incubator is slated for launch in Q1 2016 and will be looking to recruit staff with a background in business development, all of whom will undergo training in israel.

Despite the city-state’s alcove an agricultural market, its technology, research, hospital, logistics and food processing capabilities were factors that persuaded Trendlines to explore the potential presented by the city-state’s economy. The incubators specialises in developing, building and investing in medical and agricultural technology ventures.

The opening of a Singapore branch comes amidst midst plans to conduct an initial public offering on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in November 2015. According to the Israeli publication Haaretz, as of July 2015, Trendlines, operates three technology incubators for medical and agricultural startups.

The IPO in Singapore would value the company at between US$80 million and US$100 million. The Haaretz report that Trendlines withdrew from a planned IPO in Toronto in 2014 aimed at raising $20 million.

The IPO in Singapore would see it join four other Israeli firms traded on the Singapore Exchange, including the medical device maker QT Vascular and the computer-vision maker Artivision Technologies. These IPO plans could be linked to effort to persuade Israeli firms to list in Singapore.

With an Israeli team in excess of 30 engineers, scientists and business analysts screening and vetting approximately 500 medtech proposals every year, Trendlines is unique in its approach of taking a large initial equity position – often between 50-100 percent – and their role as activist investors.

Trendlines portfolio firms receive up to $1.1 million in funding; an Israeli government grant of about $558,000, a Trendlines’ cash investment of about $98,000 and a follow-up in-kind investment of US$400,000. To date, at least six of the companies its portfolio have exited via a trade sale or public listing

They do not function like traditional venture capitalists (VCs), with Dollinger explaining: “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.”

With high net worth individuals and corporates from Singapore investing in Trendlines, Dollinger and Rhodes concluded: “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.

China-Singapore incubation

Incubator in China, amongst the newest and largest medtech and pharmaceutical incubators currently in the startup space, has established a Singapore presence via Venturecraft.

Venturecraft recently partnered and invested in the Chinese incubator, targeting to make it a comprehensive platform in the city-state for entrepreneurial ventures seeking to commercialise medtech products or drugs in the Greater China market. This comes amidst a growth in business formation and entrepreneurial activity within China.

Venturecraft’s services in China through this partnership would include the provision of access to clinical trials, distribution to hospitals and localised marketing strategies. Meanwhile, higher level work involves Venturecraft facilitating regulatory approvals and grants from the Chinese government.

“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 HealthTech, the private investment firm behind Venturecraft.

More recent development on the part of Venturecraft involve it providing rent-free offices for startup ventures at its premises in Hangzhou – the hub for technology startups in China and the hometown of the Alibaba Group.

Ho explained that Incubator in China has significant social capital, given the presence of and participation in Incubator in China by leading mainland Chinese experts, in addition to government and private hospitals chiefs, IP and regulatory experts, distribution partners, R&D laboratories and government agencies.

Ho added that an IPO in what was termed “an appropriate market” was being explored by Venturecraft, saying, “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.”

This follows developments in the city-states medtech industry, whose prospects have been boosted by recent developments. EDB Investments (EDBI), the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), announcing its investment in Massachusetts-based life science tools company Rapid Micro Biosystems.

In addition, seed accelerator JFDI has partnered the German Medical Innovations Incubator to ” pioneering medtech startup bootcamps and an accelerator in Germany; both are said to lead to technology transfer and job-creation opportunities here. With challenges posed by ageing demographics, there is tremendous scope for ventures to test and validate in the Singapore market, particularly in telemedicine.

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.

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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

SGX Woos Israeli Startups For IPOs

Singapore bourse a potential hotbed for such listings as some Israeli medical and telecom startups explore Catalist presence

THE Singapore Exchange (SGX) could turn into a hotbed for bite-sized Israeli tech startups hungry for capital and better visibility as they look towards Asia to expand their business propositions.

SGX officials are understood to have made several visits to Israel in recent months to court Israeli listing hopefuls.

"Israel has a reputation for technology startups and biotechnology sectors - two sectors that investors in Singapore already have a deep understanding and appreciation of," SGX head of SME development and listings Mohamed Nasser Ismail told The Business Times.

Even so, an Israeli IPO frenzy on this side of the shore is a long shot - Israeli firms are still hung up on Nasdaq, leaving their own Tel Aviv Stock Exchange feeling neglected.

Moreover, Sarine Technologies is the only Israeli firm on SGX with no new entrant from the land of great innovators over a decade since. But now, there are signs that SGX's groundwork could mark a new inflection point in the coming months.

For one, Trendlines, an Israeli investment firm that specialises in startups in medical devices and agricultural technology, is exploring a listing on Singapore's junior board Catalist.

Todd Dollinger, chairman and chief executive of Trendlines, said in a recent interview with BT: "We started this conversation (listing and other business plans) about late last year and discovered an interesting atmopsheric condition - everyone such as SGX, bankers and lawyers wanted to talk to us. 

"In part because of what we do and in part because it was Israel."

Last year, Trendlines, which has incubated some 60 companies, ditched its plan at the last minute to list and raise US$15-US$20 million in Canada's stock exchange after some buyers pulled out. "They (buyers) couldn't get beyond natural resources, which is their culture," said Mr Dollinger.

Others could follow Trendlines' chosen path to SGX, thanks in part to CLAL Finance, Israel's largest underwriting firm which has been busy helping Israeli firms find a footing on Singapore's Catalist. 

According to CLAL managing director and head of Asian capital markets Manor Zemer, there are at least a handful of Israeli tech startups in the medical and telecommunications space that are mulling over a Catalist listing that could pan out in the next 12 months.

"We are working very closely with the SGX team and have arranged two seminars in Israel with SGX members to introduce this opportunity to Israeli companies," he said.

But SGX faces acute competition for the Israeli play. Long a preferred listing destination for Israeli firms, the tech-heavy Nasdaq boasts having more than 80 Israeli companies; next to China, they form the second largest firms listed on Nasdaq outside of the US. London hosted 18 IPOs of Israeli corporates in 2014 which was a banner year for Israeli listings - some two dozen firms had reportedly raised US$2.1 billion by going public.

The good news for SGX is that not all firms are fixated on big exchanges, more so the smallish ones that fear being dwarfed by listed giants in their quest for investor attention.

"The cap (market capitalisation) that we expect to go public at is not right for Nasdaq. We want to be in a market where people are going to pay attention to us. To be below US$250 million-US$500 million on Nasdaq is pretty invisible," said Mr Dollinger.

Hong Kong throws up similar challenges whereas London - possibly a natural choice - may not be the perfect option for companies with business interests and connections in Asia. 

Burgeoning cross-border mergers and acquisitions of Israel firms by Asian corporates and more specifically China - think Alibaba, XIO Group and more recently, Fosun International - have set the deal scene ablaze with excitement as firms prowl for some sort of innovation in a tiny nation renowned for its technological prowess. 

According to Israel's National Economic Council, China-Israeli tech deals vaulted to US$300 million last year, up from US$50 million in 2013. And in the first four months of 2015, the figure reportedly stood at US$117 million.

"These acquisitions have led to a significant movement of capital from Asia to Israel many Israeli firms are now looking at Asia for fund raising rather than as a manufacturing base which was not an option two years ago," said Mr Manor.

In that context, Singapore is deemed a respectable market - apart from being a worthy base to raise capital, it also provides business connectivities, owing to its preferred-gateway-to-Asia status. SGX is a "sweet spot" for firms looking at a valuation of anything between US$50 million-US$250 million, said Mr Manor.

Increasingly too, Mr Manor said investors in Singapore appear to have the stomach for riskier and high growth investments, hence are eager to diversify from traditional safe bets such as real estate investment trusts. IPOs aside, delegations comprising officials from other Singapore agencies have also apparently visited Tel Aviv to eye deals, startups and joint ventures.

In March this year, Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd, a state-backed fund in Singapore and investment arm of Infocomm Development Authority, said it was in talks with several Israeli tech startups to make direct investments.

 In November 2014, Temasek Holdings agreed to be a lead investor together with India's Tata Group, in Tel Aviv University's US$23.5 million research incubator fund.

A market observer who has spotted the trend says: "Israelis are coming and our government and regulators are stepping on the gas pedal to throw them the red carpet treatment. "This trend is now but a ripple but it may morph into a big wave."

Source: The Business Times

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Israel's Trax Image Recognition Closed a $15m Investment Round, Singapore Fund to Invest

Israeli-Singaporean company Trax Image Recognition, which provides in-store shelf monitoring, analysis and technology powered by image recognition, has raised $15 million in a Series D round of financing from previous investors and Singapore's Broad Peak Master Fund.

The company has raised $37 million to date.

Trax will use the fourth round of investment, which is its largest to date, to expand its global operations with a focus on developing its market share in the US and Europe.

In addition, the new funds will also allow the company to launch new products and services enabling it to meet the growing requirements of its global manufacturing and retail customers. The new offerings, available in 2015, will be initiatives in market research and the consumer space.

The investment will also help Trax secure a leading position in the crowdsourcing market by forming partnerships in this sector.

Mr. Joel Bar-El, Trax CEO, stated, “Trax is committed to constant innovation so we can always meet our customers’ needs and provide tailored offerings for the ever-changing retail industry. This round of funding will allow us to continue providing our manufacturing and retail customers with services that will ultimately allow them to make better decisions, thus helping improve sales and increase market share.”

“It will also support our growth in geographic markets such as the US and Europe and our desire to form partnerships with companies that complement our technologies. This will ensure both new and existing customers can access the best and most accurate technology in the industry at cost-effective prices.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Temasek of Singapore to Invest in Tel Aviv University Technology Innovation Momentum Fund

Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd. (Ramot), the University's tech transfer company, and Temasek, a Singapore-based investment company, have entered into a strategic agreement to fund and generate leading edge 'commercialization ready' technologies in a wide range of fields, including engineering and exact sciences, environment and clean technology, pharmaceuticals and health care.

With a $5 million commitment from Temasek, as the second lead investor, together with Tata, the Momentum Fund is announcing its closing with an over subscribed level of investment of $23.5 million.

The Momentum Fund invests in promising breakthrough technologies. Multiple committees, comprising global domain experts, Tata and Temasek representatives, will select technologies with significant commercial potential. Such technologies will be further developed under the supervision of dedicated program managers to be brought to an advanced state where Ramot, TAU's technology transfer company, will drive the process to translate such innovations into attractive licensing opportunities for the industry.

Commenting on the development, the TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter said, "We are extremely proud that Temasek, a world leading investment company, following Tata, has selected TAU as a partner. Our innovative initiative and inter-disciplinary research set an example for others to follow. With support from both Tata and Temasek, TAU aims to develop groundbreaking advanced technologies that have the potential to positively impact communities across the world in many technological areas."

Mr. Shlomo Nimrodi, Ramot's CEO, said: "Being the second lead investor, Temasek will be able to see promising technologies at Tel Aviv University, as well as participate in the different Scientific Committees and in the Investment Committee." Shlomo added, "I am extremely pleased and proud that the Ramot and TAU teams were able to exceed the initial goal we set for ourselves of $20 million. This is a testament to the strength of our institution as well as the ability of our team to plan and execute.

The Momentum Fund already selected six leading technologies in Q1 2014 and is in the process of selecting an additional 4-6 technologies in Q4 2014. We expect the Momentum Fund to support 20-40 promising innovations over time."

About Temasek:

Incorporated in 1974, Temasek is an investment company based in Singapore, with a S$223 billion (US$177 billion) portfolio as at 31 March 2014.

Temasek's portfolio covers a broad spectrum of sectors: financial services; transportation, logistics and industrials; telecommunications, media & technology; life sciences, consumer & real estate; energy & resources. Its investment themes reflect Temasek's perspectives on the long term trends:

  • Transforming Economies; 
  • Growing Middle Income Populations; 
  • Deepening Comparative Advantages; 
  • Emerging Champions. 
Temasek's compounded annualized Total Shareholder Return since inception in 1974 is 16% in Singapore dollar terms, or 18% in U.S. dollar terms.

The company has had a corporate credit rating of AAA/Aaa since its inaugural credit rating in 2004, by rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's respectively.

Temasek has offices in 11 cities around the world, including São Paulo and Mexico City in Latin America, and London and New York, which both opened in 2014. The remaining offices are all in Asia, including China and India.

About Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd:

Ramot is Tel Aviv University's technology transfer company and its liaison to industry, bringing promising scientific innovations made at the university to commercialize with industry. The company provides the legal and commercial frameworks for inventions made by TAU faculty, students and researchers, protecting discoveries and innovations with patents and working jointly with industry to bring scientific innovations to the market.