Asian investors are becoming increasingly interested in Israeli innovation and Holy Land founders are more than happy to oblige
After learning about Israeli Magma Venture Partners (which holds in its portfolio Google-acquired Waze and Facebook-acquired Onavo, among others) pulling-in anonymous Asian investors to its new fund, new statements have been made announcing the intentions of Chinese giant Baidu to invest in Carmel Ventures’ (Playbuzz, Outbrain) recent $194M fund.
This comes as little surprise considering the fact that its been several years straight now that the market has seen an increase of interest amongst Asian investors in the booming Israeli startup scene. IVC research center’s Trends and Opportunities report, published in November 2013, highlighted Makhteshim Agan’s 1.44B acquisition by ChemChina, Li Ka-Shing’s 26 direct investments in Israeli startups throughout 2011-2013, SingTel’s strategic cooperation with Amdocs and Sony’s investment in Rainbow, among other investments of note, as key milestones in this ‘wave’ of Asian capital poring into Israel.
The Orient express
In recent years, it’s been said over many times that Asia is the new destination for thriving Israeli startups to look out for, and indeed the numbers speak for themselves. But are Israeli founders themselves happy with the new horizon? The answer is an absolute Yes. Just ask ask Shaun Waxman, CEO and Founder of CouponRoller, a new gift card redeeming gaming platform. His company secured funding from a Chinese angel group and he’s already closing in on a second round from a Japanese VC located in Israel.
Waxman explains that, “After thorough research, we’ve figured out that the best market for gaming and ecommerce is in Asia. Especially in the field of gift cards and coupons. We also know that there are a lot of game developers in the region representing one segment of our target audience.”
Waxman believes that the reason for his Asian investor’s interest is, “their desire towards innovation. They are amazed with how the Jewish mind seems to be able to find solutions to problems they traditionally have trouble dealing with.”
Michal Chetrit, Managing Director of the Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce has her own take on the phenomenon:
“The increase of inbound Asian investment is notable, especially from China as well as other countries in the region, such as India and Singapore, to name a few. This significant economic growth in Asian markets has encouraged Asians to explore investments overseas, including Israel, which has distinguished itself as the Startup Nation. In light of this growing interest to invest in Israel, the Israel-Asia Chamber and its members aim to support and encourage commercial relationships which are mutually beneficial to both regions.”
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ Diplomatic handshake between countries: flags of China and Israel