Tech Nation: Antitrust Body to Probe Exclusion of GetTaxi From Airport

Microsoft Ventures and JVP establishing cyber-security accelerator, and Chinese firm eyes larger stake in CollPlant Holdings.

Eran Lanun

Antitrust Commission investigating limits placed on GetTaxi at airport

The Antitrust Commission is examining an order issued last month by the Israel Airports Authority, barring GetTaxi – the Internet and mobile app-based cab service – from picking up arriving passengers at Ben-Gurion International Airport. (The order does not stop GetTaxi cabs from bringing passengers to the airport.) GetTaxi’s fares from the airport are up to 20% lower than those charged by Hadar Taxi, which has an exclusive franchise to maintain a taxi stand at the airport. Although the airports authority’s regulations allow other cab companies to operate at the airport subject to certain conditions, the authority said GetTaxi has been operating in violation of those terms and had disrupted traffic at the airport. The authority said drivers who commit to abide by the airport’s regulations will be allowed to operate from Ben-Gurion airport, adding that the authority will cooperate with the Antitrust Commission’s investigation.

Microsoft Ventures and JVP to establish cyber-security accelerator

Herzliya-based Microsoft Ventures and Jerusalem Venture Partners announced last week that they will jointly establish Microsoft Ventures’ first startup accelerator in the field of cyber security. The accelerator’s four-month program, which begins in September, will provide startups with mentorship and market expertise from industry executives, as well as additional support. Six to eight startups will be accepted initially. JVP’s Be’er Sheva cyber lab has committed to offer a $1 million investment to one of the startups at the end of the accelerator program, as well as a place at its Be’er Sheva incubator. Two weeks ago, Microsoft Ventures announced that it would also establish a healthcare startup program at its Israeli accelerator, in conjunction with the American medical technology firm Becton, Dickinson and Company.

Chinese firm eying larger stake in CollPlant Holdings

China’s Flon Medical Material Co. is considering increasing its investment in CollPlant Holdings, an Israeli producer of plant-derived human collagen, a protein vital for tissue repair. “We have invested $2.5 million in CollPlant and we might increase this amount,” Flon managing director Qian Xiaojin said during a trip to Israel. Flon, which holds 7% of CollPlant, is seeking to help the Israeli company win Chinese regulatory approval, and to manufacture and distribute its products in China. “Israel is leading the world in creativity and innovation in biotech and medical devices,” said Qian, who was attending a conference in Israel. He said his company is also seeking technology for dental implants and air filters, with the aim of transferring technology to China to manufacture it there.

Gemini Israel Ventures not seeking further investments

Gemini Israel Ventures, a venture capital fund established in 1993, is laying the groundwork for an ultimate end of its operations after deciding not to launch a new fund. Set up as part of a government initiative, Gemini wrapped up investment in April in a fifth fund, and will not take on additional investments. It will, however, continue to provide support services for its current investment portfolio. Last week, Gemini managing partner Menashe Ezra confirmed his firm’s decision not to start a new fund, adding that it wasn’t a matter of failing to raise capital. The effort was never undertaken, he said. All told, over the years Gemini raised $696 million, but suffered a loss in recent years of several partners.