Israel VC that matches tech with art sees global scope

Israel VC that matches tech with art sees global scope

TechnoArt seeks to raise $75 million fund to invest in startups that bring technologies to artists around the world; plans to open NYC accelerator in January

A panel of speakers at the TechnoArt conference held in Tel Aviv on Nov. 10, 2019 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)
A panel of speakers at the TechnoArt conference held in Tel Aviv on Nov. 10, 2019 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

TechnoArt, an Israeli VC and incubator that seeks to invest in and develop technologies for the art world, is seeking to raise a follow on $75 million fund that will invest in startups in Israel and globally, said founder Shani Peled.

Speaking at the sidelines of the TechnoArt conference, which saw speakers from the media and music and arts world convene in Tel Aviv to exchange views about the impact of technology on art, Peled said that the fund is in talks with strategic investors, media and artists from around the world.

The fund typically plans to invest $1 million to $3 million in relevant startups, she said, and follows a $5 million microfund set up by TechnoArt in 2015 than runs a startup accelerator program at the Tel Aviv Museum. The fund has invested $250,000 to $700,000 in six participating startups, including Playit, which has developed a platform for producing events by inviting performing artists in a few simple steps, and in Markers, which helps connect advertisers with artists.

The firm is also planning to set up a three-month accelerator program in New York City together with the Shubert Institute, a corporate arm of the Shubert Foundation, the Tribeca Film Institute and other “leading financial institutes,” Peled said. Aiming to help entrepreneurs develop technologies for the arts industry, the program will start in January 2020 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, she said.

TechnoArt founder Shani Peled (Courtesy)

Peled added that the fund is also in talks with the president of the Republic of Colombia, Ivan Duque Marquez, to use TechnoArt as a hub to support Latin American innovation and to connect the Latin American artistic community to innovation and funding.

At the conference, keynote speaker François Pachet, director of the Spotify Creator Technology Research Lab, spoke about artificial intelligence’s impact on the art of making music, while other speakers included Assaf Sagy, the commercial lead of Snapchat in Israel and Kyle Wright, the head of Innovation at the Shubert Organization, another arm of the foundation.

The Shubert Organization owns 17 Broadway and six off-Broadway theaters. The organization is always on the hunt for technologies to make the shows a more pleasant and safe environment for audiences as well as more accessible to a diverse set of people, including those with disabilities or from non-English speaking countries, explained Wright, in a chat with The Times of Israel at the sidelines of the conference.

“Investing in innovation and entrepreneurship is the best way to do this,” he said.

Kyle Wright, the head of Innovation at the Shubert Foundation at the TechnoArt Conference in Tel Aviv, November 10, 2018 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

The organization is one of the investors behind the Broadway Tech Accelerator program, which opened its doors for applications from startups for the first time in April this year. The initiative — which selects eight startup in two cohorts per year — is also backed by IT Mentors and Exponential Creativity Ventures.

The Shubert Organization has also invested in Herzliya, Israel-based startup GalaPro, which provides smartphone users with multilingual subtitles, dubbing, and amplification services, allowing theater lovers, especially those who are vision- or hearing-challenged, or who don’t speak English, to follow what is happening onstage in real time.

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