Morocco venture capital fund eyes more tech investments in Israel: CEO

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Morocco’s UM6P Ventures is looking to expand its Israeli portfolio, Chief Executive Yasser Biaz said on Tuesday.

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UM6P already has made two investments in Israeli startups - out of a total of 18 globally.

“We are evaluating another two, looking deeper and further,” Biaz told Reuters during a visit to Israel for the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem this week.

“One thing for certain is that we’re continuing to look into biotechnology type of startups.”

UM6P is specifically looking to invest in deep technologies including in agriculture, food, climate tech and precision fermentation, he said.

“When you’re operating in deep tech, Israel is a must have,” Biaz said, adding he is also in talks with the government’s Israel Innovation Authority to expand UM6P’s collaboration.

Biaz is part of a larger tech delegation from Morocco that includes startups from financial tech, artificial intelligence, drones, Metaverse and solar energy, as well as technologies for physical fitness, training, human resources and real estate.

He noted that the collaboration received a boost from the Abraham Accords signed in 2020, normalizing ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco.

“It’s economics before politics. We are trying to open the caravan for more of our startups to collaborate across borders,” Biaz said. “And try to see how we can push synergies and investments across the region.”

Last November, Israel’s H2Pro and Moroccan renewable energy developer Gaia Energy forged a strategic agreement.

“Morocco is critical as a gateway to Africa,” said OurCrowd Chief Executive Jon Medved, adding that many European firms have African headquarters there while the country is leader in solar energy.

“There’s all kinds of things we can do together. For these things to work, they have to be bilateral.”

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