TechNation: Chinese Role in Israeli Tech Less Than Widely Believed, Says IVC

Spotify to enter Israeli music market after two years of negotiations ■ Daimler, MizzMaa Ventures invest in smartphone-tech startup Anagog ■ Wibbitz video-production tech to be used by German soccer team Borussia Dortmund

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As doubts are cast over the significance of China's involvement in the Israeli high-tech market, image shows PM Netanyahu with Chinese Prime Minister Liu Yangdong in Jerusalem in 2014 in a meeting to discuss cooperation.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese Vice Prime Minister Liu Yangdong in 2014.Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

Chinese role in Israeli tech less than widely believed, says IVC

Chinese investments in Israeli startups isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, a study by the IVC Research Center released last week shows.  “Not a day goes by without reports in the Israeli media about economic cooperation between Israel and China,” the research house said. “IVC’s data suggests otherwise: The world’s most populous country and second largest economy in fact remains a relatively minor player.”  After rising sharply from 2013 to $509 million in 2015, investment growth leveled off and reached $596 million in 2017, or just 12% of all capital invested in 2015-17, IVC found. Likewise, Chinese companies have not factored large in mergers and acquisitions of Israeli startups. The only significant deal to date is the 2016 $4.4 billion purchase of Playtika by China’s Giant Interactive. In other years, Chinese companies accounted for as little as 1.1% and no more than 8% of all Israeli tech exits, IVC said. (TheMarker Staff)

Spotify to enter Israeli music market after two years of negotiations
The digital-music service Spotify will be coming to Israel soon after deadlocked negotiations were wound up in a single day. The Swedish company refused to pay the standard 12.5% royalty that ACUM, the organization that handles the copyright of composers, lyricists and music publishers, was demanding “The talks between Spofity and ACUM had been going for more than two years without success,” said Udi Chitman, an attorney who helped wind up the talks. “We entered the picture and Spotify’s legal counsel came here with the regional manager and after a marathon day of talks with ACUM and others in the market, we reached an agreement.” He declined to reveal terms, but Spotify has reportedly agreed to pay 10%, the same rate Apple Music is paying for the first three after launching its Israel service in August 2016. Spotify offers subscriptions that range from free to $10 a month for a premium service. (Amitai Ziv)

Daimler, MizzMaa Ventures invest in smartphone-tech startup Anagog

German carmaker Daimler and Hong Kong-U.S. venture capital firm MizMaa Ventures have invested $10 million the Tel Aviv-based start-up Anagog, Anagog said on Monday. Daimler opened a Mercedes-Benz research and development center in Tel Aviv last year, making it one of a growing number of multinational firms seeking to tap into Israel’s auto technology expertise as the industry moves toward self-driving cars. Founded in 2010 by Gil Levy and Yaron Aizenbud, Anagog’s JedAI SDK software analyzes user behavior directly in the mobile phone with sensors, enabling businesses to identify consumer behavior and competitive trends. The company says it has technology used in over 20 million handsets globally. Last year Anagog and Daimler launched the EQ Ready App, which helps drivers decide whether it makes sense for them to switch to greener car technology by recording real journeys and comparing them with electric and hybrid vehicles. Angog has raised $13 million to date. (Eliran Rubin)

Wibbitz video-production tech to be used by German soccer team Borussia Dortmund

The German soccer team Borussia Dortmund and the Union of European Football Associations have signed a contract with Wibbitz to produce videos for their website using the Israeli start-up automated content-creation system. The deal marks a first foray into sports for Wibbitz, which until now has worked mainly with media organizations such as Reuters and Bloomberg. The deal came after the government invited a group of European sports executive to Israel to meet with local sports-tech startups.  “Sports team sites have become media sites in every respect, and to create a strong international brand, the teams have to attract an audience and create a more emotional connection,” explained Yotam Cohen, a Wibbitz cofounder and chief operating officer.  “We allow them to tell their stories in a video.” Wibbitz was founded in 2011 by CEO Zohar Dayan and Cohen, and six months ago raised $20 million in capital. (Eliran Rubin)

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