Israel, the startup nation admired by Chinese entrepreneurs for its vigour and innovation, is becoming the investment destination of choice for the Chinese tech giants as these deep-pocketed companies scour the world for promising investments.
Chinese search giant Baidu and Carmel Ventures have co-led a US$5 million round in Tonara, an Israeli music education technology company, with participation from existing investors. Baidu’s Senior Director of Corporate Development, Peter Fang, will be joining Tonara’s board.
The Israeli venture capitalist Carmel Ventures closed a US$194 million financing round from a consortium including Chinese investors of Baidu, software provider Qihoo 360 and financial conglomerate Ping An.
Founded in 2011, Tonara has developed score-following technology for musicians. The company currently offers two apps. Tonara is a fully digitized sheet music platform for professional and amateur musicians which follows played music, turns the pages during rehearsal and performance, and offers an extensive catalogue of scores.
Following the success of professional musicians with Tonara, the Wolfie app for teachers and students was launched in 2014. Based on the same proprietary technology, Wolfie aims to transform music education by using iPads to create interactive music learning experiences. Wolfie supports teacher-student communication and features an extensive catalogue of music lessons organized by difficulty level.
The company has built a music library through partnerships with publishers, including a variety of music genres such as children’s classics, screen & stage, Latin, and so on.
“The new funding will enable us to scale up and to reach music students and teachers globally. We’re thrilled to cooperate with Baidu in reaching out to a Chinese audience,” said Tonara CEO Guy Bauman.
Baidu’s first investment in Israeli startup was a US$3 million round in Pixellot Ltd., which develops video cameras that can be controlled remotely to provide footage of sports and music events.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)