Israel has emerged as a hotbed for tech startups, with the so-called “Startup Nation” producing a wealth of successful companies from across the technological realm. So perhaps it comes as little surprise that Israel is the continuing focus of investment from China.
Local venture capital firm Singulariteam today revealed that the founders of Chinese holdings giant Tencent and social network Renren are putting up cash for a new $102 million fund. Existing investor Kenges Rakishev is also returning for what is Singulariteam’s second fund (but its first since its name-change from Genesis Angels).
The first fund, which amounted to $100 million, was invested in 12 startups, with a particular focus on robotics, new space, augmented reality (AR), and mobile. These include Mobli, InfinityAR, Effective Space, and General Robotics, though famously simplistic messaging app Yo also received funding.
The second fund will again target Israeli startups looking for seed investment and will cover fintech, the Internet of things (IoT), mobile development, and robotics. It has already invested in six startups.
“We’re looking for companies that dream big and will bring significant change to the world,” said Moshe Hogeg, founder and managing partner at Singulariteam. “Promising companies with a good idea and great people.”
Hogeg said Singulariteam wants to give these companies “the conditions they need” to flourish, which extends beyond cash and into “professional service, guidance, and any possible synergy with our existing portfolio.”
In other words, he wants the fund’s companies to help each other where it makes sense. “We are not your typical VC – we are also entrepreneurs, and as such, we don’t simply invest but rather create ideas and companies,” he said.
See our earlier story on how “venture-builders” are changing the startup model.
Hogeg also happens to be founder and CEO of Mobli and cofounder of Yo, two companies Singulariteam invested in through its first fund.
China in Israel
Today’s news follows a trend of big investment in Israel coming out of China.
Last year it emerged that Chinese equity-investment company Yongjin Group had invested around $20 million into Israeli venture fund Pitango Venture Capital, while computing giant Lenovo also pumped around $10 million into venture fund Canaan Partners Israel.
Elsewhere, Chinese conglomerate Ping An Insurance created a $100 million fund with a focus on Israeli and U.S. tech companies, while both Ping An and China’s Baidu participated in Israeli VC firm Carmel Ventures’ $194 million fund in October.