Softbank is considering cooperation with Israeli startups. The communications corporation, whose market cap is $70 billion, has launched its first innovation program of its type, in which it will examine startups whose products are synergetic to Softbank, or to companies with which it works. After a viability examination, the corporation, which operates in the field of telecommunications and the Internet, will extend its cooperation with the startups.
The program is open to startups anywhere in the world, but Softbank is planning a particular emphasis on Israel, and in early September will hold a launching event for the program in Israel, to be attended by its representatives. The bank is looking for startups in four areas: smart homes, connected vehicles, digital marketing, and health.
Behind Softbank is its legendary founded and CEO Masayoshi Son, considered a business and entrepreneurship guru in Japan.
Softbank has already invested in several Israeli startups. The most recent was last February, when it led a $5 million investment in Saguna Networks. Other investments include Taykey, Quixey,Talkspace, Boxee, as well as Dov Moran's Modu and Shaul Olmert's GameGround (both of which closed down).
The Softbank event, which will take place on September 3 at Samurai House in Tel Aviv, is being backed by the Samurai Incubate Japanese-Israeli investment fund, founded by Japanese entrepreneur Kentaro Sakakibara. The fund operates an incubator in Tel Aviv and an investment fund, and has already invested in 16 Israeli companies out of its total of 100 investments, most of which are in Japan. The fund intends to partner with 100 Israeli companies over the next three years.
Samurai Incubate urged Softbank to come to Israel, and helped bring the investment corporation here. The company is currently considered one of the leading intermediaries in entrepreneurship and startups between Japan and Israel.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 9, 2015
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