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July 25, 2013

Israeli VC Firm to Target Tech Startups

Alex Woodie

Two veteran Israeli investors have teamed up to create Aleph, a new VC firm that aims to provide early-stage financial support to Israeli startups. The firm reportedly has put together its first fund, with a target of more than $140 million. Big data, cloud, and mobile application startups in the country are slated to be early beneficiaries of the fund.

Thanks to deals like Google’s $1 billion acquisition of Waze, a big data gold rush is taking hold in Israel. Waze, which makes mobile applications for consumers that have the ability to crunch big data sets to provide a personalized, turn-by-turn experience, has set high expectations for Israel’s tech industry.

With interest in Israeli tech peaking, two VC veterans–Michael Eisenberg  of Benchmark Capital and Eden Shochat of Genesis Partners–have joined forces to create Aleph, with the hope of striking while the iron is hot.

Israel has a long history of investment in technology, in large part due to its “military-entrepreneurial complex,” which has created a nation-wide tech incubator that houses perhaps the highest concentration of big data engineers and analysts in the world. Israel is said to be the second most popular destination for venture capital, behind only Silicon Valley.

Aleph has attracted $140 million for its first fund, according to a story TechCrunch. The publication speculates that the amount will be enough make between 15 and 25 early stage investments of $5 million and $8 million each.

The new VC firm looks to be early stage investors in tech startups that have promising big data, cloud, and mobile technologies. The idea, according to TechCrunch, is to help out the next generation of entrepreneurs that are currently maturing in Israel.

Aleph reportedly will be going up against the big VC firms in Israel, such as Pitango Venture Capital and Magma Venture Partners, but with a decided focus on early stage investing, as opposed to later-stage investing and investments in enterprises, which has been the trend in Israel.

Eisenberg brings lots of experience to the business, having been a general partner at Benchmark Capital in Israel for more than eight years. Shochat has been a general partner at Genesis for almost three years, but has significant experience as an operator of startups, TechCrunch reports, including the co-founder and chairman of Face.com, a facial recognition tech company bought by Facebook for $60 million, among other ventures.

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