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RIL to invest $25 million in Israeli start-up incubator

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-07-2017 Kalpana Pathak

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on Thursday said it would invest $25 million in Israel-based Jerusalem Innovation Incubator (JII).

The technology incubator will focus on start-ups in big data, analytics, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and storage and financial technology, among other areas.

“Most of these domains align with our businesses and strategic interests,” RIL said in a filing to BSE.

“The investment in JII shall be done in partnership with OurCrowd (an Israel-based start-up crowd-funding platform), Motorola Solutions and Yissum (a technology transfer company of Hebrew University of Jerusalem),” RIL said in the filing.

JII will be a limited liability partnership, with RIL holding a 20% stake. The remaining will be held by OurCrowd (60%) and Motorola (20%). Yissum, a non-investing partner, will provide JII with research and development support.

The incubator will invest in early-stage start-ups over a period of eight years.

JII is licensed by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), which functions under the Israeli ministry of economy.

JII could not be immediately reached for a comment.

“The proposed investment in JII would help pool significant amount of capital which is essential and foundational to fund the cutting edge innovation required by early-stage start-ups in partnership with IIA,” RIL added.

After several investor bets on food and grocery delivery start-ups soured, venture capital firms have been pouring money into financial technology and artificial intelligence companies. Nearly 300 start-ups are using some form of artificial intelligence, according to Tracxn, a start-up tracker.

Fintech start-ups led by digital wallet and payments bank Paytm raised roughly $2 billion in 2015 and 2016, according to Tracxn.

Mihir Dalal in Bengaluru contributed to this story.

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