Beyond brain surgery: Israel’s newest VC JOY Ventures raises $50 million fund for ‘neuro-wellness’ startups
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Avi Yaron, founder and CEO Visionsense and now Joy Ventures has gone through three brain surgeries, leading to his invention of a new kind of surgical camera (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images Israel)

Avi Yaron, founder and CEO Visionsense and now Joy Ventures has gone through three brain surgeries, leading to his invention of a new kind of surgical camera (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images Israel)

Startups developing neurotechnology linked to preventative medicine and better living will be the main focus of the company

A new venture fund is launching with a focus on an emerging field of technology: neuro-wellness. That’s the word from the founders of JOY Ventures, an outgrowth of the Israeli-Japanese Corundum Open Innovation Fund will be worth a colossal $50 million.

Visionsense founder Avi Yaron and Beer Sheva-based Incubit Technology Ventures’ Idan Katz are leading the company,

“We’re establishing a new ecosystem in the new industry of neuro-wellness,” Yaron said in a statement. “Our emphasis will be on the development of scientifically-proven products whose goal will be to help people manage and overcome chronic conditions.”

JOY will take a two-track approach, funding research grants to the tune of at least $1.2 million a year, and launching a new startup incubator that will focus on finding new anti-stress solutions that can be turned into marketable products.

Yaron, who has endured three brain surgeries himself, founded Visionsense with the goal of improving surgery success itself. But many patients do not follow through with positive life changes and rehab plans necessary to ensure their operations are a success, whether those procedures deal with heart conditions or muscle strains.

“Many years of being involved in the development of brain surgery technologies, made me realize the human need for joyful and relaxed moments and how critical they are for our health,” Yaron wrote.

“Originally developed to make things easier for human beings, technology actually intensifies the tension we live in. For this reason we decided to invest in neuro wellness by leveraging the large body of research and neuro developments in Israel.”

Israel has another brain-focused startup program, the Brainnovations accelerator founded out of Israel Brain Technologies, which convenes at Google’s Tel Aviv campus when the program is in session.

Wellness, which includes a number of products and services aimed at soothing the healthy and rehabilitating the sick, has grown to be a $3.72 trillion industry according to the Global Wellness Institute. Preventative medicine, a major focus of medical startups, is worth somewhere between $432.7 billion and $534.3 billion, according to their research.

Katz added, “We want to raise up an industry here, financially and academically.”

An earlier version of this article stated the Brainnovations accelerator was run out of Tel Aviv University. We regret this error.

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