Hebrew U, VC fund look to bring Jerusalem tech to Japanese companies

Yissum, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University, forms a strategic partnership with Japenese VC fund Universal Materials Incubator Ltd.

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative photo of the entrance to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
Illustrative photo of the entrance to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s arm to commercialize technologies developed by its researchers is teaming up with a Japanese venture capital fund to help bring “cutting edge” inventions to Japanese corporations.

Yissum, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University, announced Monday a strategic partnership with Universal Materials Incubator Ltd. (UMI), a 16.5 billion yen ($152 million) venture capital investment fund from Japan.

The strategic partnership will focus on adapting Hebrew University’s technologies  to the Japanese market, allow Yissum and UMI to grow their international presence, and create joint investment opportunities, Yissum said in a statement.

UMI is a venture capital fund that focuses on chemicals and material sciences. The fund was set up in 2015 with the aim of “strengthening Japan’s technological capabilities by fostering outstanding material and chemical companies and cultivating an industry structure that can compete in the global arena,” the statement said.

Yissum also said Monday that UMI was investing in Yissum’s Racah Nano Venture Fund, an investment vehicle founded this year to focus on Hebrew University innovations in advanced materials and nanotechnology.

The Racah Nano Venture Fund completed its initial closing in July and has now raised over $7 million from international and strategic investors.

“Through this collaboration, we aim to strengthen our network in Israel and improve our position as a new business creation platform in the materials and chemical industries in Japan,” said UMI chief information officer Dr. Shosuke Kiba in the statement. “Israel is a global leader in the startup ecosystem and one of our top international targets for finding investment projects that contribute to the development of the Japanese materials and chemical industries.”

“The partnership with UMI advances Yissum’s efforts to bring Hebrew University innovations to global markets and furthers our international strategy of global outreach that already includes similar partnerships in China and South America,” said Yissum’s senior VP of Business Development and Alliance Management,  Itzik Goldwaser.

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