After several years of forums and meetups, and a few high-level investments, Israeli entrepreneurs think there should be more Chinese money in play by this point. Are they right?
While there has been much media fanfare about Chinese investors’ increased interest in Israeli startups, for many Israeli hi-tech leaders, the weekly comings and goings of Chinese investors have resulted in a lot of talk and little action. An upcoming meeting is hoping to address these mumbled concerns.
The China-Israel Hi-Tech Investment Forum will take place June 6-7, sponsored by Vadi Ventures, a Tel Aviv-based but Chinese-owned company aimed at connecting Chinese businessmen to potential Israeli tech partners. About 100 Chinese investors and founders will attend the event, which will focus on AR/VR, medtech, cleantech and mobile.
Israelis set to speak include Yossi Vardi, MK Erel Margalit (Labor), and Ziva Eger of the Israeli Ministry of Economy. Geektime Managing Editor Laura Rosbrow-Telem will also interview Israeli Nobel laureate Robert Aumann, who has been recognized for his work in economics and game theory. Chinese speakers MICI CEO Zhao Sheng and Co-Founder of Vadi Ventures Li Li Kai will also address the crowd, among others. At the event’s pitch contest, Dronomy, Hip-hope Technologies, Pepticom, Onysus, Sizer, Freshub, Leviathan Energy Renewables, New CO2 Fuels (NCF), Spark and VocalZoom will participate.
“Dozens, even hundreds of Chinese investors – entrepreneurs and government officials alike – visit Israel every week. They attend various hi-tech events to evaluate startup companies for investment,” says Edwards You LYU, founder and CEO of Vadi Ventures. “For more of them, this is the beginning and the end of the connection with the Israeli entrepreneurs.”
Meetups between Israeli founders and Chinese funders have increased immensely in the last few months. Beijing hosted an investor conference for Israeli startups in January, a $200 million Israeli-Chinese venture fund launched earlier this year, and The Floor in Tel Aviv is just the first of what could be several China-backed accelerators in Silicon Wadi. Nanjing-based Kuang-Chi also plans to invest $300 million in Israeli smart city tech.
But if the ratio of pitches to investments doesn’t go up, this could be “the beginning of a trust crisis that might adversely impact the trade between the countries,” says LYU.
LYU has lived in Israel for three years, before that working in the Foreign Affairs division of the Nanjing municipality cultivating ties with Israeli business contacts. He contends investors from Chinese small- and medium-sized businesses, more than corporations, would be inclined to make strategic investments in Israeli partners.
“This is the type of investor that Vadi Ventures is now beginning to attract. We founded Vadi in order to draw the Israeli startup industry closer to Chinese investors that suit its needs.”
For Geektime readers that want to attend, click here to ask for discounted tickets to the event.