Microsoft, GE Ventures and Tel Aviv University Partner on $20 Million Investment Fund for Israeli Startups

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General Electric, Microsoft, Qualcomm Ventures, Tata and the Chinese company HNA EcoTech have joined with Tel Aviv University and Pitango Venture Capital to establish a new fund for Israeli projects in the Internet of Things. $20 million has already been raised for the new fund called Israel IoT Innovations – i3 Equity Partners.

The funding will provide three to five seed and pre-seed startups annually with a financial investment of up to $1 million each. The participating companies will also have technology, mentoring, business development and office space on the TAU campus provided to them. Major corporations will also offer their for technological expertise as well as later-stage investments. They will also purchase the new technologies that come to fruition from the program and distribute them in high-potential markets like China and India.

So what exactly is Internet of Things anyway? Everyone seems to be talking about it these days.

Well to put it simply, IoT is a new field of high tech development in which the Internet is integrated with everyday objects that will have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. So soon enough your refrigerator, oven, washing machine, and yes, even your kitchen sink, will all be interconnected.

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Nowadays just about everything that we rely on in our day to day lives is in some way mechanical. And now we can control just about everything with our mobile devices. So IoT will let you someday draw a bath, set the water temperature, vacuum the carpets, cook dinner and clean the kitchen all at the same time by remote control.

So score another victory for Israel’s Startup Nation. Where else in the world do you find entrepreneurs and big money investors coming together to change life as we know it on almost a daily basis?

CEO of Ramot Shlomo Nimrodi, who is Chairman of i3 Equity Partners, said, “This one-of-a-kind collaboration between some of the world’s largest corporations and Israel’s leading academic institution and largest venture capital fund is a testament to their trust in the ability of Israeli entrepreneurs to invent the next breakthrough technologies that will move the world.”

TAU President Joseph Klafter said, “I’m proud to say that TAU’s technology transfer arm, Ramot, played a major role in leading the formation of i3 investment consortium. We see this as an outgrowth of several decades’ worth of cooperation with leading Israeli and multinational companies.”

According to Israel IoT Innovations – i3 Equity Partners, the Internet of Things industry could be worth almost $900 billion by 2022. It declares that IoT is slated to soon change all aspects of our lives – from aerospace to medicine, transport, security, agriculture and industrial production. IoT draws on many fields including big data, machine learning, cyber security, sensing, communications, software engineering, ethics and privacy.

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