KMAI Capital

An early-stage venture capital fund dedicated to investing in high-potential, impact-driven, early-stage technologies developed within the Israeli academic ecosystem, providing value-added support to accelerate their growth to a national and global scale startups with high returns.

The Background

Israeli academia is fertile ground for research and development of innovative and impact-oriented technologies. Many universities and academic institutions operate multidisciplinary R&D centers focused on fields such as food-tech or environmental technologies, which provide the research infrastructure and expertise required for addressing the key challenges facing humanity, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Academic research has proven potential to advance Israeli industry, economy and society. Many successful companies that were launched based on academic research create a revolutionary impact on human well-being.

The Challenge

Despite success stories such as the Mobileye system and the Copaxone drug, which were developed in Israeli academic institutions and grew to become leading companies, it is evident that the potential held in Israeli academic institutions is far from being realized.

Weak university–industry linkages and barriers in the knowledge transfer processes result in many promising technologies not being fully harnessed for commercial development. Among the reasons for these difficulties are the lack of knowledge and understanding of the market on the part of academics and researchers; difficulty in building a team that specializes in leading technology to the market; the lack of long-term sources of financing that are necessary for technology development and commercialization processes; and difficulty in recruiting investors for  early-stage technologies that involve high risk. These challenges affect the country’s economic growth potential.

The Opportunity

Prof. Joseph Klafter, Partner in the KMAI Capital

Prof. Joseph Klafter, Partner in the KMAI Capital

KMAI Capital was founded with the primary aim of advancing innovative impact-oriented technologies that originate in Israeli academic institutions. In line with its name, “Kamai” in Hebrew means “primary”, the foundation leads early-stage technologies in the transition from research to market readiness.

KMAI Capital focuses on areas with the potential to create significant economic, environmental and social impact across a diverse range of industries including food security, alternative energy, the use of consumables, data protection, medical technologies, and technologies that promote quality of life for individuals, communities and populations around the world. KMAI helps impactful technologies realize their commercial potential and develop into successful startups through unique processes that include scouting and ideation, hands-on management, creating the right product market fit, building a team, and leveraging cooperation with prominent partners.

The foundation works closely with both Israeli academic institutions and the business sector, serving as a force multiplier that is expected to lead to the development of more academic-based Israeli startups and advance both Israeli academia and industry.

KMAI Capital is a joint effort of Menomadin Foundation and Katao Venture Partners. The initiative is led by a team of experienced veteran entrepreneurs and investors with a strong record of establishing quality companies, accompanying academic R&D processes, and leading them to deliver outstanding global impact as well as financial returns for investors.

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