B-Hive's mission is about connecting the dots in fintech. Earlier this week some of our B-Hive partners went on a scouting mission to meet and connect with 35 hand-picked innovative companies in Israel.
Despite its relatively small size with a population of 8.5 million people, the nation has developed more high-tech start-ups than all of Europe in recent years, and trails only the US on that score. Silicon Wadi (which means Silicon Valley in Arabic) is an area around Tel Aviv on the country’s coastal plain that has a cluster of high-tech industries built around military, start-up and venture-capital communities.
This 3 day B-Hive mission was fully packed with meetings with local VC’s. Over these 3 days, we met with 4 Venture Capitalists : Aleph VC, JVP, Moneta VC, Vintage VC, and Viola Ventures These were investing at different stages of the companies, some focusing more on early stages, versus other being able to invest at later stages. All of them introduced us to their portfolio companies active in data analytics, cyber security and other tech companies offering services to the financial world.
Israel: a Startup Nation
What is clear after meeting several key players in the fintech ecosystem and also talking with the ambassador of Belgium in Israel, is that Israel as a fertile ground for innovation. It is often referred as the startup nation
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is a key reason innovation is so rampant in Israel. Mandatory conscription for all Jewish Israelis leads to a whole range of government-supported skills, contacts, and resources. Conscription in the IDF also helps develop leadership skills that align perfectly with the non-hierarchical nature of a startup.
But while there is no doubt that conscription has a positive effect on the Startup Nation, is simply isn’t the only reason for the success Israel has seen in recent years. With each VC and founders that we spoke to, a broader set of factors became apparent.
You can read the full report of the Israeli landscape and trends
Meeting with Israeli VC firms
The first day started with a meeting at Aleph VC in downtown Tel Aviv. Aleph is a venture capital fund focused on partnering with great entrepreneurs to help scale them into large, meaningful companies and globally recognized brands. Michael Eisenberg, one of the three partners welcomed our group and explained us what was so special about Israel startup nation. After we got the opportunity to meet with their top portofolio companies in cyber security, data modeling and customer experience solution to drive user engagement.
Then, in the afternoon we went to Google campus to meet with another 10 startups providing solutions in cyber security, user engagement and data analytics. It was a fully packed pitching session with very innovative companies. In the evening we had the honour to be invited at the Belgian Ambassdor's house for reception with startups founders and a meeting with Uri Adoni, venture partner at JVP. Jerusalem Venture Partners has created and invested in over 120 companies in Israel, US and Europe.
The second day we went a bit outside Tel Aviv to meet with Meirav Har Noy, the co-founder and managing partner of Moneta VC. Moneta is an early-stage venture capital firm that leads investments of ~$1M in Data Technology companies. The firm's main areas of interest include: Fintech, Insurtech and cyber. This VC takes a hands-on approach in assisting entrepreneurs, and it was a pleasure for us to connecting with some of the founders of their portofolio companies.
The afternoon we had meetings at Vintage VC. Vintage Investment Partners is a venture capital firm specialized in late-stage venture and secondary market investments.
On the last day of our mission, we had the opportunity to be invited by Avi Zeevi, co-founder and General Partner of Viola Ventures, one of the biggest VC firms in Israel. Viola, the Israel-based technology investment group, has launched in December 2017 a new independent VC fund targeting fintech startups from anywhere in the world. Viola FinTech, the “cross-stage venture fund” has an initial closing of $100 million but will extend that towards $120-150 million. It is backed by global banks, insurance companies and asset managers from North America, Europe, APAC and Israel, including Scotiabank, The Travelers Companies, Inc and Bank Hapoalim. We were pleased to discover their portofolio companies active in cyber security and risk management.
If you want to get the opportunity to meet other innovative startups in Europe, we recommend you to join our new Fintech hub roadshows that we are organising in 2018.
For more information on these partners scouting mission, please contact us.