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August 22, 2019 10:35 am

Japan’s Sompo, AT Partners, NTT Finance Launch Joint $40 Million Fund to Invest in Israel

avatar by Adi Pick / CTech

A view of the Tel Aviv skyline. Photo: LaMèreVeille via Wikimedia Commons.

CTech – Japanese insurance company Sompo Holdings has partnered with Tokyo-based venture capital firms NTT Finance and AT Partners to launch a $40 million fund that will become a limited partner in Israeli venture capital firms, Nobuyuki Akimoto, co-founder and managing director at AT Partners, said in a Wednesday interview with CTech by Calcalist. The new fund will not invest in specific startups, but rather partner with approximately 10 Israel venture capital firms, Akimoto said.

The fund made its first commitment in Israel last month, investing $2 million in a fund managed by Vertex Ventures Israel, Akimoto said. Vertex Ventures was one of the two most active venture firms in Israel in 2018, according to a report published in January by Tel Aviv-based research firm IVC Research Center. Vertex Ventures has $960 million in assets under management, and its portfolio companies include no-checkout shopping startup Trigo Vision, LiDAR startup Innoviz Technologies, and Cloud backup startup OwnBackup.

The Japanese alliance fund will be announcing its second and third commitments next month, Akimoto said, each valued between $3 million and $5 million. The fund is particularly interested in the fields of digital health, cybersecurity, robotech, and artificial intelligence, Akimoto said.

The new fund does not currently employ any full-time employees on-the-ground in Israel, says Akimoto, but that may soon change. The fund intends to invest the $40 million it has already raised within five years, Akimoto said, adding that it is continuing to raise more funding.

Sompo already has local activity in Israel after setting up an innovation hub in Tel Aviv in 2018. Sompo’s Israeli arm focuses on startups in the fields of insurtech, mobility, health and care for the elderly, blockchain, home IoT, and cybersecurity, the company said.

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