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Taiwan tech firm i2i creates $70m program for Israeli startups to enter Asia

Taiwan’s largest innovation company, Innovation to Industry (i2i), has set up a $70 million program to create tech collaborations between Israeli startups and the East Asian country’s industry and academia, in order to pave their way to sell their products in Asia.

The program, called IP² LaunchPad, will enable Israeli firms to test out their technologies and create partnerships with local manufacturers, the health care system, academic researchers and potential investors.

“We are working on three main pillars,” said Rani Shifron, who will manage the program from Israel. The launchpad will create opportunity for startups to validate their technologies, and find distribution and investment partners. Shifron heads the Israeli consulting firm Healthier Globe, which assists startups and organizations to enter developing global markets.

Twenty-five Israeli startups have already been selected for the program, eight of which have signed cooperation agreements to pilot their technologies, conduct feasibility studies or clinically validate their technologies, the statement said. The startups are from the fields of digital health,cybersecurity,and artificial intelligence internet of things (AIOT).

Among the companies chosen for the program:

  • EZMEMS, a developer of smart plastic sensors designed to allow the integration of high-performance sensors needed in internet of things systems.

  • Cybord, which develops technologies that stop counterfeit, defective and malicious electronic components from getting assembled into products during the manufacturing process.

  • Tenuto, which has created a liquid biopsy test for the early detection of cancers

  • ReSymmetry, which is developing an AI-based robotic seating system that continuously evaluates the quality of sitting, collecting data from sensors embedded in chairs, from office to wheelchairs, and adjusting sitting positions to match each person’s personal posture needs to avoid damage caused by prolonged sitting.

The companies are in the early stages of marketing or sales, and most of them are after initial investment rounds. “The intellectual property of the startups remains with the companies,” said Shifron by phone. “In Taiwan, intellectual property is very regulated and there are no problems as long as the rights are secured in Israel.” As part of the program, Israeli startups will get access to investments from $200,000 and up to $3 million at the end of the program. The initiative will also set up an Asian Business and Innovation Center in Taiwan for the Israeli companies, that will help them penetrate their products to Asian markets, i2i said in a statement. Israel is the first country that was chosen by i2i for the launchpad program, after a number of other tech centers were evaluated. Similar launchpads with startups from the US and Europe may also be set up at a later date, said Shifron.

Gary Gong, chairman of i2i, initiated the strategic cooperation program following his visits to Israel in recent years, where he was exposed to the Israeli innovation industry. “Integrating the Israeli innovation industry with the hardware and healthcare industry in Taiwan will fuel the industry innovation in Taiwan,” he said in the statement. Israel’s software solutions will complement Taiwan’s strong hardware industry, Ho Chin-Tsang, director general of the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration in the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan, said in the statement. Taiwan is a manufacturer of personal computers, LCD screens, semiconductors and mobile phones. The program is annual and aims to run for at least three years, after which, if deemed successful, it will be extended, perhaps with more funding, said Shifron. i2i is a private company and one of four government-approved incubators in Taiwan, working to help support and promote startups, link them with partners and expand their operations in markets around the world.

The IP² program will operate out of the Startup Terrace innovation center in Taipei, which is host to 106 entrepreneurs from 11 countries, and has a business center and living facilities. The innovation center is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan.

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