Baidu has backed its first Israeli startup, investing US$3 million in video technology company Pixellot, according to a report by Reuters. The Tel Aviv-based video technology company will use the money to develop its unmanned cameras and technology for large outdoor events. The move reflects a sharp rise in Chinese companies investing in Israel over the past two years.
Earlier this year Baidu made its first move into the Israeli investment scene, funding capital firm Carmel Ventures, as Technode reported in October. The firm announced it had raised US$194 million from multiple strategic investors in Asia, including Baidu, Ping An Insurance, and Qihoo 360.
In August this year, Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo Group Ltd. invested US$10 million in the Israeli- focused arm of Canaan Partners, while last November the venture arm of Chinese insurance giant Ping An created a US$100 million fund aimed at Israeli and U.S. startup partnerships.
According to the director of Baidu’s Corporate Development, Peter Fang, Pixellot’s “ground-breaking” technology will be a huge value-add for Chinese internet users. While neither company has gone into specifics on their new agreement, Feng said on Sunday that it will “revolutionise video content production”.
Chairman and co-founder of Pixellot, Miky Tamir, says the investment signals the start of their international focus, enabling them to “grow globally, and bring [Pixellot] into the Chinese market.” As Chinese demand for streaming content continues to grow rapidly, acquisition of low-cost broadcast video technology is a clear motivator for Baidu in the investment.
Pixellot technology is designed to make recording and broadcasting large events easier and more cost effective. According to the company, their products includes specialised cameras and spatial relay and workflow technology that makes it possible to record large-scale outdoor events with minimal personnel, or even from a remote location.
Since Baidu’s 2005 IPO, their share price has reached highs of US$250. The company has since expanded into multiple new industries and markets. In September, Baidu invested US$10 million in Finnish mapping software maker IndoorAtlas. In 2013, the search giant moved into Indonesia, where it is now on the lookout for high-tech investment following the success of its market entry apps, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)