A new Chinese venture capital fund wants to invest $100 million in Israel, Globes reported Tuesday. It is named MizMaa – an acronym for Mizrach-Ma’arav (east-west), and it gets its funding from three wealthy Chinese families, chiefly from the Chen family, the 58th wealthiest family in the world.
Last May, MizMaa Ventures and Korea Investment Partners led a new funding round for Twiggle, an Israeli company specializing in the use of AI in online retail. The $15 million investment round brought Twiggle’s total funding to more than $33 million, and will be used to expand its US-based operations, product development and marketing and sales teams.
Twiggle uses natural language processing to improve customer searching and increase relevance and recall for online and mobile retail platforms. The Twiggle’s patented Semantic API allows retailers to instantly improve their search engines and interact with online customers in a natural and personal manner, leading to improved sales.
“When we look at the world, Israel represents one of the most dynamic centers of technological advancements,” declares the MizMaa website, promising to “harness the best ideas and products from Israel’s technology sector together with capital from three families to help companies and leaders access markets in the US and Asia.”
“MizMaa is working with the deep technology innovators emerging from Israel’s high tech sector. We are providing long-term investment capital, and years of investment, marketing, finance, and systems expertise. Our goal is to back these leaders in the innovative changes they are making to the marketplace,” the statement adds.
The two brains behind the new venture fund are Catherine K.C. Leung, who served as Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Asia Investment Banking, and Isaac “Yitz” Applbaum, Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Jerusalem for Public Private Partnerships.
Leung told Globes: “I think that because of the language, and because of the substantial cultural differences, it isn’t easy for Israeli companies to operate in the East. It’s something that we would like to give real help in. I understand the culture, I was born in China, and I understand the language. I studied later in both Hong Kong and the US, so I also know this part.”
She also confessed that she doesn’t know Israel very well, however, “Isaac and I come here once a month for four days, and he has been very active here for more than 10 years already.”
She also noted that “after just over a year here, the Israelis are very diligent, very practical, and very smart. You can see that if you work very hard, you will see that your partners are working just as hard as you are, and maybe even harder.”
Is this a match made in heaven, or what?