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Say oui: Israel seeks to draw French investment to high tech

Innovatech 2017 Conference held in Paris focuses on food tech, life sciences, auto tech and cybersecurity

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

Pigeons fly at the Tuileries gardens, with the Eiffel Tower in background, in Paris, Saturday, November 14, 2015 (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Pigeons fly at the Tuileries gardens, with the Eiffel Tower in background, in Paris, Saturday, November 14, 2015 (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Israel is looking to increase French investments in Israeli technology companies and is holding a conference in Paris on Thursday to show off its wares.

The Innovatech 2017 Conference, intended to foster cooperation between the two nations and encourage French investments, is the first such conference in France. It focuses on food tech, life sciences, auto tech and cybersecurity. It will be attended by 250 leaders from the French Hi-Tech industry, along with 15 Israeli companies and directors of Israeli venture capital funds, Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry said in a statement.

Israeli chip company Valens, which earlier this month announced $60 million in funding, will be among the companies presenting their products at the automotive session at the conference. This session will be attended by French companies Renault, active in R&D in Israel, and Airbus, an airplane manufacturer, the statement said.

France has undergone a renaissance in innovation over the past few years and is the leading country in Europe for attracting venture capital. In addition, France is a significant global investor, with its total foreign investments reaching $35 billion in 2015, ranking it 13th globally.

However, when it comes to investment in Israel, France has barely scratched the surface. According to the most recent data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, investments from France in Israel , as of end 2014, stood at only $519 million. This is despite Israel’s position as a leading innovative country according to the World Economic Forum’s global innovation index.

The conference is a joint initiative of the Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation Authority of the Israeli Ministry of Economy & Industry, the Connecting Leaders Club of France, and the Economic Mission of the Israeli Ministry of Economy & Industry in France.

“We live in an age where international companies have realized that to succeed they must invest in innovation — a field where Israel is a leader,” said Ziva Eger, chief executive of the Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation Authority, who will speak about Israel’s technology ecosystem at the conference. “French companies are extremely interested in receiving information about the potential benefits of cooperation and investment with Israel. This conference is just the start of the enormous potential of investing in Israel.”

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