Tech in Brief: Japanese Insurance Firm Sompo to Invest in Israeli Startups

Israel’s Shavit Capital says it has completed a $100 million funding round to invest in technology companies before they go public

Pedestrians walk past a sign for NKSJ Holdings Inc.'s Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. outside the company's headquarters, in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, June 18, 2010

Shavit Capital raises $100 million fund for tech investment

Israel’s Shavit Capital said Wednesday it had completed a $100 million funding round to invest in technology companies before they go public. The fund is Shavit’s fifth and will focus on the life science sectors. While its previous funds targeted companies planning an initial public offering on Nasdaq, it now expects to expand its investments to include firms nearing flotation in other markets, like Europe, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. The fund’s investors include financial institutions from the United States, Asia and Israel, as well as owners and senior managers of leading investment banks and hedge funds. Shavit, which has over $400 million under management, said it leads investment rounds ranging in size from $20 million to $60 million. In the past year, Shavit led a $40 million round for Gamida Cell, whose leading product was developed to renew bone-marrow cells. Gamida Cell completed an IPO on Nasdaq in October. (Reuters)

Japanese insurance firm Sompo to invest in Israeli startups

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance said Sunday it was expanding into Israel with the launch of an innovation lab that will focus on investments in technology startups. The Israeli hub, which will invest in startups in the fields of insurance technology, mobility, health, elder care, home care, remote medical care, blockchain, “internet of things” and cybersecurity, will be Sompo’s third, after Tokyo and Silicon Valley. Sompo, a core unit of Sompo Holdings, did not disclose financial details. It said its Israeli office will seek out potential startups in which to invest while also focusing on collaborations for new products for the Japanese and global markets. It also aims to promote partnerships with academic institutions. Investments in Israeli startups will be done directly by Sompo, at sums of at least $5 million, or through a corporate capital venture established jointly by Sompo and U.S. venture capital firm TransLink Capital for investments of $1 million to $5 million. Sompo plans to invest in one to three firms in the first year and create collaborations with five to 10 companies. (Reuters)