November 2020 - Monthly Insights Israeli Venture Capital
News & Updates
FUND MANAGER SPOTLIGHT: AMITI VENTURES
As we continue to feature the recent trends and developments in Israeli venture capital, we decided to focus in the upcoming months on some of the leading Israeli venture capital funds and provide a bit more insight on each of them through short interviews with the partners of each firm. In this edition, we interviewed Modi Rosen, General Partner of Amiti Ventures. Prior to joining Amiti, Modi co-founded and served as General Partner at Magma Ventures, one of the most successful VCs in Israel where he led first investments in Waze (acquired for $1 billion by Google), Argus Cyber Security (acquired for $450 million by Continental), CloudEndure (acquired for $250 million by Amazon), Appsflyer Ltd. (raised over $290 million), Innoviz Technologies Ltd. (raised over $250 million), Valens Semiconductor Ltd. (raised over $160 million), and many more.
From left to right: Ben Rabinowitz, Modi Rosen and Maya Pizov.
Amiti Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund founded by Ben Rabinowitz in 2010 and was joined by Modi Rosen and Maya Pizov, in early 2019, to pursue their objective of backing the most talented Israeli entrepreneurs. To date, Amiti has raised three funds and manages approximately $185 million across a portfolio of about 20 companies. Prior to establishing Amiti Ventures, Ben held various General Manager and Vice President roles at AudioCodes (NASDAQ: AUDC); including leading sales; product marketing; operations; support and M&A in North America. Prior to joining Amiti, Maya served as a Principal at Viola Ventures. She also served as team leader in the 8200 unit of the IDF and was active in the Prime Minister’s office. 1. What is the investment strategy of Amiti Ventures? Modi Rosen (MR): At Amiti Ventures we focus on Israeli and Israeli related high-technology companies. Israeli related opportunities include Israeli entrepreneurs based in Israel and that form their companies in the United States. The Firm will typically make its initial investment in a company’s seed or Series A round and aims to initially secure 20%-30% when investing in Seed and 12%-15% when investing in Series A. Our aim is to invest in multi-disciplinary teams capable to build deep technologies that address a large market. 2. What are the leading sectors in which you invest in? MR: We are focused in deep technology taking a sector-agnostic approach. We do not limit ourselves to any sector except from Life Science, Pharma and Cleantech because of the longer tail of these sectors. At Amiti Ventures, we follow the trends in technology and strive to invest early in disruptive technologies. 3. What are the most important factors you consider when making an investment? MR: Prior to an investment, we will look deeply into the market as we really look to invest in technologies which can address a sizeable market. Also, we analyze the value proposition, the team and in particular their domain expertise. In addition, we also analyze potential exit scenarios. 4. How has COVID-19 affected your investment strategy and sectoral focus? MR: During 2020, we have been slower in deploying capital due to the COVID-19 pandemic which slowed down investment between February and April as a result of uncertainty. Since then things has bounced back and the deployment reached normal pace. Regarding sectors, we haven’t really changed our focus as we have always been prioritizing deep technologies which have the objective of disrupting new markets. In addition, we take into consideration that until mid-2021 all sales efforts of companies will be from remote with “low touch” and no physical encounters. 5. How would you define “value-add” by venture capital funds? How are you different from other funds? MR: Many venture capital fund managers aim to “add value” by having a hands-on approach with entrepreneurs and get involved in operational issues which we believe have lower impact and on the contrary, negatively impact the company. At Amiti Ventures, our added-value philosophy consists mainly in contributing to the decision-making process in the critical moments in the lifetime of the company when the founding / management team need us. 6. Finally, what do you think makes the Israeli tech ecosystem so special? MR: Israeli founding teams often have significant, unique technical experience that enables them to tackle complex tech problems, coupled with an inherent desire to challenge the norm (a trait deeply rooted in the cultural DNA of Israel). That mindset, coupled with advanced technical training, has bred a unique type of entrepreneur in Israel that can find success in both domains where they do and even do not have prior experience. They are able to leverage this unique set of traits to apply their knowledge in deep technology to domains that have not previously been touched by it previously.
Notable Investment Rounds
SentinelOne, an UpWest Labs portfolio company, secured a $267 million growth round, led by Sequoia Capital with the participation of Tiger Global . SentinelOne helps deliver autonomous security for endpoint, data center, and cloud environments to help organizations secure their assets with speed and simplicity.
Syte, a Viola Ventures portfolio company, secured a $30 million C round led by Viola Ventures with the participation of La Maison, Magma VC and Mizmaa Ventures among others. Syte is a visual AI technology provider that supplies retailers with information about the motivations of individual shoppers in order to help them deliver the right products at the right time.
Deci AI, an Emerge VC portfolio company, secured a $9.1 million A round led by Emerge VC with the participation of Square Peg Capital. Deci develops AI technology to build and operate AI models. Deci's deep-learning platform enables data scientists to transform their AI models into production-grade solutions on any hardware.
Amwell (NYSE: AMWL), a telehealth platform, connecting and enabling providers, insurers, patients, and innovators to deliver greater access to more affordable, higher quality care, raised $742 million in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange at $18 per share, which valued the company at $4.2 billion.
CrowdStrike Holdings (NASDAQ: CRWD), a California-based cloud-delivered endpoint and cloud workload protection company, acquired Preempt Security for $96 million, a General Catalyst portfolio company which offers zero trust and conditional access for continuously detecting and preempting threats based on identity.
With Flagship behind it, Moderna quickly scaled from startup to world-changing biotech now on the brink of pioneering a COVID-19 vaccine [Crunchbase] Amazon France CEO says second national lockdown boosted sales by up to 40-50% [Reuters] Apple's M1 chip is here: More on its debut in the latest Macs, and how the tech giant plans to integrate their new chip [Wired]