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Microsoft, Tel Aviv University Start $20 Million Fund to Invest in Israeli Startups

Five multinational corporations, including Microsoft, have established a partnership to invest in Israeli startups developing technology for the Internet of Things (IoT), The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

In addition to Microsoft, the venture capital arms of General Electric, Qualcomm, the Indian conglomerate Tata, and the Chinese company HNA Group have joined forces with Tel Aviv University and the Israeli firm Pitango Venture Capital. The $20 million fund will be called IoT Innovations – i3 Equity Partners (“i3”).

The Internet of Things, which refers to technology connecting objects and appliance to the internet, is expected to receive some $3.7 billion in funding globally this year. GE is one of the leading investors in IoT technologies.

The i3 fund has been established to provide 3-5 startups each year with an investment of up to $1 million each. The companies receiving the investments will also benefit from “technology, tools, mentoring, business development and other services” provided by the fund’s partners, the consortium said in a statement. Selected companies will also gain exposure, with the possibility of the sale of their products and distribution to markets like India and CHina.

“This one-of-a-kind collaboration of some of the world’s largest corporations with Israel’s leading academic institution and largest venture capital fund is a testament to their trust in the ability of Israeli entrepreneurs to come up with the next big thing that will transform our world,” said i3 chairman Shlomo Nimrodi, who is also the CEO of RAMOT, a Tel Aviv University-affilited company that monetizes inventions made by the university’s researchers.

[Photo: TAUVOD / YouTube ]