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Indian Company Lead Investor in Tel Aviv U Fund

Tata Contributes $5 Million to TAU’s Technology Innovation Momentum Fund

By: David Shear
Published: May 7th, 2013 in News » World
TATA
As it was in the 1942 classic film, Casablanca, the most iconic scene is arguably when Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine tells Claude Rains’ Captain Louis Renault: “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship…”

Today, thanks to a major investment made in a Israeli high-tech fund by Indian company Tata, the relationship between the two countries may be on track for the start of a beautiful relationship of their own.

Tata will be contributing a reported $5 million to the Technology Innovation Momentum Fund, a new technology fund founded by Tel Aviv University, according to Shlomo Nimrodi, the CEO of Ramot, Tel Aviv University’s tech transfer company.

The deal makes Tata the lead investor in the project — and establishes the largest single investment in Israel by an Indian group yet.

Tata and TAU signed a memorandum of understanding on the deal last week.

"For Tata, we ... see innovation and R&D as an area of focus and a source of competitive advantage going forward," Rameshwar Jamwal, executive director at Tata Industries, said during a news conference held earlier this week.

Jamwal said it was Tata's first major investment in Israel and that it would likely invest further.

"This is our attempt to scout Israeli technology more deeply," he said. "This allows us over a period of time to show our commitment to Israel but we are interested in doing more."

Tata will work with Tel Aviv University’s scientists to help them with commercial uses for their research.

"It's someone to test your ideas and say what's a mistake," said Shlomo Nimrodi, Ramot's chief executive. "Tata knows the market better."

Among Ramot's big successes is flash memory, which was licensed by an Israeli company before it was sold to Sandisk (SNDK.O), which still pays millions of dollars of royalties to the university.

The new fund will invest in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, cleantech, food security, the environment, engineering and software.

Related articles: Israel, tel Aviv University, India, Investor, Tata, TAU, Technology Innovation Momentum Fund
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