Japanese gov't opens Israeli startup accelerator

he JETRO center is focusing on support for Israeli companies in the founding stages and the expansion of their business to Japan.

August 30, 2018 11:20
2 minute read.
High-rise buildings are seen at the Shinjuku business district during sunset in Tokyo, Japan

High-rise buildings are seen at the Shinjuku business district during sunset in Tokyo, Japan, May 31, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/TORU HANAI)


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Tel Aviv (Tribune News Service) - Economic cooperation between Japan and Israel is being stepped up: the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO), a Japanese governmental agency, is opening a business center and accelerator program for Israeli startups. The center will support Israeli startups and mediate business cooperation between Japanese and Israeli companies. The JETRO center is focusing on support for Israeli companies in the founding stages and the expansion of their business to Japan.

JETRO promotes bilateral trade and investments between Japan and the rest of the world. As part of its activity, JETRO operates the Invest Japan program aimed at helping foreign companies wishing to develop their business in Japan. The program includes a great deal of information for foreign investors about all aspects of doing business in Japan by providing professional consultation and temporary office space for free in large business centers throughout Japan. Under the name Global Acceleration Hub (GAH), similar Japanese centers operate at 12 sites around the world.

The JETRO program is designed for Israeli startups interested in finding fruitful ground for cooperation with Japanese companies. The center's personnel will assist with information about the Japanese market and in finding suitable companies for cooperation. In cases in which such a company is found, the center is likely to obtain support in establishing a presence for the Israeli company in Japan.

The GAH program will be operated by Jakore, owned by former Rakuten executive Shintaro Hirato and former Samurai Incubate Israel CEO Yony Golan. The company represents Japanese investors and companies, while also supporting Israeli startups in the Japanese market.

According to figures from the IVC research company, investments in Israeli startups by Japanese funds and companies totaled $2 billion in 2017. The number of Japanese companies that established activity in Israel has grown from 20 in 2015 to 60 at present. Prominent deals include the sale of pharma company NeuroDerm to Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma for $1.1 billion and the sale of video analysis company BriefCam to Canon for $90 million.

JETRO Israel managing director Tomohiro Yoden said, "It is important for Japan to adopt Israel's strengths. In addition, the knowledge and experience of Japanese companies will be very useful for Israeli companies. I believe that the first step of each side is to understand the other's strong points, combine forces, and build reciprocal relations that will complement each other."

Golan said, "In pursuance of the positive trend we are seeing from the Japanese side towards a wish for technological cooperation in recent years in investments and cooperation in developing technologies of various types in Israel, this welcome initiative of the Japanese government via JETRO provide strong support for this trend. We are happy to cooperate with JETRO in order to be a catalyzer in the promotion and strengthening of the trend and in deepening the connection with the Israeli ecosystem."

Adv. Guy Lachmann, a partner in the high-tech group at the Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz law firm and the head of the firm's Japan desk, which advises many Japanese companies about their business in Israel, said, "JETRO's initiative represents the clear trend towards people in Japan making Israel and Israeli technologies an important target for their efforts. The synergy between these Japanese companies and their Israeli counterparts is enormous and the potential is huge. In the not-too-distant future, we are likely to see many Japanese companies opening branches here, investing in Israeli technology companies, and even acquiring companies."

(c) 2018, Globes Publisher Itonut. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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