Israel and Global Venture Capital: A Worldwide Desk Reference

Dr. Shlomo Kalish & Micah Avni, Jerusalem Global Ventures

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Summary Bullet Points

The venture capital industry in Israel is best described as follows:

  • The 51st state: Israeli venture capital practice is almost identical to that in the United States.
  • An industry in its adolescence: Although very similar, the Israeli venture capital industry is less experienced and less mature than the U.S. industry.
  • Undergoing change: The active involvement of top-tier U.S. venture capital firms is transforming the Israeli venture environment.
  • Strong on technology, weak on marketing: The Israeli entrepreneurial base is very good at development and innovation but needs help with sales and marketing

General Practices

Venture firms in Israel are structured in the same manner as firms in the United States: They are limited partnerships, with general partners managing the funds. Private companies issue preferred shares of stock based on financing agreements that are almost identical to those used in the United States (share purchase agreements, investors' rights agreements, stockholders agreements and articles of association).

Most Israeli venture-backed companies are founded by a small R&D team in Israel, and as they sign initial commercial deals they begin to build a presence closer to their customers in the United States, Europe and the Far East. Israelis have typically been strong in technology development and innovation and weak in sales and marketing. Therefore, it is common for an Israeli venture-backed company to have R&D activities located in Israel and sales and marketing activities located in the United States. In the last years, we have seen headquarters being established in Europe rather the USA, particularly in the cellular space, where the ubiquitousness of GSM/GPRS systems in Europe makes it a very attractive market.

In the late 1990s and into 2000 and 2001, there was a trend among Israeli venture capital firms to encourage portfolio companies to quickly hire a U.S.-based CEO and open an office in the United States. The attempt to force a US CEO on Israeli companies has failed in many cases, as a result of cultural and distance difference. Today, this trend has reversed, and in most cases, portfolio companies are managed by an Israeli founder. At JGV we prefer that the Israeli founders move to the USA as the company is getting ready to market, or hire a US CEO who is an ex-patriot or has worked successfully with Israeli companies before. In our most recent investment, VidoeCodes, a company developing software solutions for the cable industry, the whole company moved to the USA, close to the customers. At a later point, once they become more mature, they will open an R&D center back in Israel.

Differences From Other Countries

The venture capital industry in Israel is fairly young. In 1980 there was only one venture capital fund - Athena - a $25M partnership formed in 1982 by Dan Tolkowsky, former head of the air force, and Fred Adler, the legendary VC from the U.S. Athena, later renamed Veritas, backed some of the early stars of the Israeli high-tech sector, such as Scitex, Elscint, Gilat, Zoran, among others. The industry, however, was formed in the early 90s and boosted by a government initiative called Yozma, which subsidized foreign LPs to invest in Israeli funds. Several funds were formed, including Polaris (now renamed Pitango), Gemini, Nitzanim (now called Concord), Star Ventures, Oxton (now called JVP), and others. Today, there are close to 100 firms managing some $10B, with 20 firms managing in excess of $100 million.

The Major Players

The major players in the Israeli venture capital community are the venture capitalists and the entrepreneurs. The largest fund, Pitango, which manages over $1B in total commitments, is in the process of raising its fourth fund in 2004. Pitango, formed by a merge of Polaris, was founded by Rami Kalish, and Eucaliptus, was founded by Ahara'le Mankowski. Managing Partner is Nechemia Peres, who is also the chairman of the Israeli Venture Capital Association, and son to former prime minister, Shimon Peres.

Star Vetures, founded by Dr. Meir Barel in the early 90's with offices in Germany and Israel, is one of the earlier and most successful funds. Star also manages close to a billion dollars, funding such companies as Lannet and Cienna.

Yehuda and Zohar Zisapel are probably the most successful investors/entrepreneurs, operating a communications incubator under the umbrella of the RAD group. The Zisapel brothers have started over twenty successful companies in the last fifteen years, mostly in the data communications space, including such success stories as Lannet (sold to Lucent), Radware (Nasdaq RDWR), Radvision (Nasdaw RVSN), Alvarion (ALVR), among others. The Zisapel brothers are also very active in promoting the industry and technology education in Israel, including founding the NanoTech Center at the TEchnion, the Israeli Institute of Technology.

Another Israeli "Institution" is Dr. Yossi Vardi, most famous for founding Myrabillis, the internet startup responsible for ICQ, the popular instant messaging platform sold to AOL for $407M in 1999. However, Yossi is one of the most connected persons in Israel and worldwide, and is an active entrepreneur/investor in many early stage companies, particularly in the internet space. Yossi is also a personal consultant to some of the industry leaders, including Steve Case and Jeff Bezos.

Evergreen, founded by Jacob Burak in the late 80's as an investment house providing a full range of financial services, focuses now on the fund business and operates a series of funds, including venture funds, fund of fund, and a secondary fund. Giza, founded by Zeev Holtzman in the 1980s as an investment house, also focuses now on the fund management business, with several funds under management.

Jeruslem Global Ventures, founded by Shlomo Kalish in 1994 as an investment house, also focuses now on managing venture funds only, with three funds under management. Jerusalem Global is focusing on early stage, with a strong emphasis on exceptional entrepreneurs.

Gemini Venture Capital was founded in the early 90's by the legendary Dr. Ed Mlavski. A scientist turned business man, he ran Tyco in the early 80's then immigrated to Israel to form and run the BIRD foundation, a bi-national R&D foundation between the Israel and USA, and then formed Gemini. Gemini is managing three funds, raising its fourth one, managed by Yossi Sela.

Concord Ventures, founded and managed by Matti Karp, is managing three funds, raising a fourth in 2004. Concord invested in some of the most successful semiconductor companies, including Galileo Techologies (later merged with Mravell), Saifun Semiconductor, and Wintegra.

Jerusalem Venture Partners, founded by Erel Margalit, is another significant group, managing three funds, with offices in Jerusalem, New York, London and the Far East. JVP's most successful startup is Chromatis, which was sold to Lucent for $4.5B in 2000.

Israel Seed Partners (ISP), also based in Jerusalem, is managing three funds with a focus on early stage. ISP's most successful startups were Tradeum, an XML engine sold to Vertical Net for $500M in 2000, and, the most successful internet shopping search engine.

There are several international funds with significant presence in Israel. Walden International, managed by Roni Hefetz, and APAX (previously Patricof), managed by Alan Barkat, have been operating in Israel since the early 1990s with significant investments.

During 2001 Sequoia Capital and Benchmark Capital formed Israeli partnerships and instantly became dominant players, very active in the early stage investing arena. Other important international funds, including Greylock, Accel Partners, USVP, LightSpeed, Nokia Ventures, among others, have been actively investing in Israel without a local presence.

Corporate Venture Capital is also a significant player in Israel. While in recent years this activity has been significantly reduced, Intel Capital and Cisco stand out as being very active, both in direct investment and in acquisition of Israeli companies. Intel Capital was the most active investor in Israel in 2003. Its most notable acquisition is the DSPC group, which became the center for Intel's cellular chip effort. Both companies operate significant R&D centers in Israel where they develop some of their most advanced products. Other companies with significant investing activities in Israel include Microsoft, Motorola, IBM, HPC, TW, Siemmens, Phillips, GE, and Connexant.

Israeli Enterprises

While most of the startups in Israel will be sold to major foreign players, the Ciscos and Intels of the world, some have succeeded to the position of world leaders in their fields. These companies, typically managed from Israel, have significant influence on the Israeli startup arena not only as direct investors but also as builders of competency clusters, which later spin off startup companies either pro-actively or by people leaving and starting businesses. Checkpoint Software (CHKP) in IT security, Amdocs (DOX) in telecom billing, Comverse Technologies (CMVT) in Telecom Value Added Services, Orbotech (ORBK) in capital equipment for the electronic industry, and Mercury Interactive (MERC) in corporate IT testing and monitoring, are the most notable examples.


Israel is a highly entrepreneurial country. With 140 scientists and engineers per 10,000 population, double the rate of any western country, everyone is an investor and wants to start a company. At the height of venture activity in 2000, the country was home to over 3,000 start-up companies, second only to the USA in absolute numbers. To date, over 100 Israeli companies are traded in public U.S. markets, more than any other country outside North America.

Whereas the early 90's was characterized by great engineers founding companies with great technology but no management and marketing, today the situation is quickly changing. With successful serial entrepreneurs, and Israeli returning from the USA with significant experience in managing US companies, we see startups that are much more balanced in their management talent from the beginning. We therefore believe that the success rate and ability to achieve world leadership positions are greatly improving.

Role models are of major importance to young entrepreneurs - successful charismatic entrepreneurs who are a model to imitate for the young. Uzia Galil, who founded ELron Electronics in the 70s, is considered the grandfather of the high-tech industry. Elron, which later spun off Elbit Systems, turned into an investment arm that was responsible for launching some of the most successful companies in the 80s and 90s, including Elscint, Scitex, Orbotech and others. Galil served as a role model for both entrepreneurs, and later, for venture capitalists.

Efi Arazi, the charismatic founder of Scitex Ltd., was the leader in automating the pre-presses and printing industry and a major role model for entrepreneurs. As a leader for the most successful company in Israel in the 90s, Arazi was outspoken, eloquent and very successful with a high visibility and strong influence.

In the 90s, Gil Schwed, a founder and CEO of Checkpoint, emerged as the role leader, particularly for internet and software entrepreneurs. Schwed was successful in turning military knowledge and technology into the global leader of enterprise security. More impressive is the fact that he's done that from Israel. Most other Israeli global leaders are run from the United States. Checkpoint is also the most successful VC investment, growing from a seed value of $500,000 for BRM, to a company valued over $25B in 2000.

Another role model emerging in the 90s is Avigdor Willenz, founder of the chip company, Galileo Technologies. A charismatic leader and an idealist, Willenz returned from a stellar career at Silicon Valley IDT to start Galileo in 1993 in the Galilee Hills in the North of Israel. Under his leadership, Galileo grew to become the leader in Ethernet switching chips, going public in 1997 and merging with Marvell at $2.7B in 2000. Willenz, famous for his charitable activities, became a model and mentor to entrepreneurs, particularly in the semiconductor space which is a core competency in Israel.

As the industry grows and matures, the phenomenon of serial entrepreneurs is becoming more visible. Some of the most notable serial entrepreneurs include:

Shlomo Ben Chaim, MD - Chaim is the most successful serial entrepreneur in the life science field. He has founded several companies in the space, most notably Biosense, sold to J&J for $400M, X Technologies, acquired by Guidant in 2004, and others.

Shlomo Kramer - Kramer was one of the three founders of Checkpoint, the most successful VC backed Israeli company to date. Shlomo left Checkpoint in 2002, and was involved in starting and funding several companies. Recently he founded WebCohort, a Web based systems security company, founded by Benchmark, USVP, and Venrock.

Shlomo Touboul - Touboul founded Shani Computers in the early 90s, which was acquired by Intel. Shlomo later founded Finjan, an enterprise security company. In the early 2000s Shlomo founded an incubator Runway, which was active in starting several companies. Shlomo is now heading Finjan, which is backed by Benchmark Capital, ISP, and Cisco.

Davidi Gilo - Gilo was the founder of the DSP Group, which split to two chip companies: DSPC, which went public and was then acquired by Intel for $1.6B in 1999, and DSPG (NASDAQ DSPG), which is a leader in DSP chips. Other successful startups that spun out of this group include Audiocodes, NASDAQ and Nogatech (acquired by Zoran for $180M). Gilo was also very active in investing and turning around companies such as Zen, Vyyo, and others.

The army has a significant influence on the industry. A mandatory draft requires every eighteen-year-old youngster to join the armed forces. Elite units try to attract the most talented individuals and such individuals are given significant responsibilities to run big projects at an early age. Thus, these individuals, once they leave the service in their early twenties, have technical and management experiences rarely found with such youngsters elsewhere. As a result, many of the IT and Datacom companies were founded by veterans of technical units of the intelligence corps, most notably Checkpoint Software. The air force, attracting top talent to be pilots, has produced many entrepreneurs, such as Kobi Richter, founder of Medinol, Boaz Eitan, founder of Saifun, and Orni Petroushka, founder of Chromatis and Scorpio, to name a few. Ex-pilots constitute a significant proportion of the VC community, including the writer, Matti Karp, Chemi Peres, Gideon Tolkowski, Amnon Shoham, Yair Safrai, and others.


The majority of the investors in Israeli venture capital funds are non-Israelis. Most of the limited partner bases of the Israeli venture capital industry are comprised of non-Israeli (mostly U.S., with some European and Far East) financial institutions, funds or pension funds and university endowments. These include entities such as Bank of America, HarbourVest Partners, CALPERS, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citygroup, and Horsely Bridge.

Israeli venture capital funds also have a fair number of foreign corporations and high-net worth individuals as limited partners. A few Israeli financial institutions and corporations are invested in Israel venture capital, but they comprise a minor portion of the investor base. Israeli pension funds and university endowments are not significant players in the venture space. The main reasons for this are regulatory. Also, there is a lack of diversification in their portfolios.

Connecting With Investors

As in the United States, most Israeli entrepreneurs initiate contact with venture capitalists through personal connections. Israel is a fairly small and close-knit country, so this is not particularly difficult to do. Entrepreneurs do not generally have a difficult time making contact with Israeli venture capitalists.

Most Israeli venture capital firms actively network with the entrepreneurial community, attending conferences and scouring mid-level management at major high-tech companies such as IBM, Texas Instruments, Intel, Motorola and National Semiconductor (all of which have facilities in Israel). They also network with Comverse, Mercury, CheckPoint and Amdocs, which are indigenous to Israel.

The Israeli army (particularly the communications and computing departments in military intelligence) and the Israeli universities (particularly the Technion) are also incredible breeding grounds for entrepreneurs so many venture capitalists spend time building relationships with these institutions. For example, the author, Shlomo Kalish, is on the board of four leading academic institutions in Israel.

Evaluating Investment Opportunities

To evaluate an investment opportunity, we start with an initial screening of a business plan. At JGV, the main criteria that we focus on are people, particularly the CEO. We insist on a leader who is an exceptional entrepreneur, typically with a track record. If the company doesn't have such, we'll try to match them with such an individual.

We then look at the technology and market. Israeli startups should have significant technology advantage addressing a real need in a fast growing market. We look for deep and defensible technologies, which can give the company an unfair advantage in a new and emerging market. Typically, we'll require at least an order of magnitude advantage, with existing solutions to the problem in terms of cost/effectiveness ratio. Conversely, we shy away from businesses that are based solely on innovative marketing or business models. While such companies can be very successful in the US or Europe, they are not likely to succeed thousands of miles away from the target markets. Although we are slightly less sensitive to market size than our US counterparts, we aim to invest in companies that target markets where exceptional growth can be expected three to five years out.

If a company passes the initial screening, it is invited to present to a few members of our investment team, usually a general partner and an analyst or associate who reviewed the business plan. This meeting typically lasts a few hours. After the meeting, if the firm decides to proceed, we enter into more extensive due diligence.

Due diligence usually involves calling references for entrepreneurs, calling customer references, having an outside technical expert review the company's technology and performing a detailed review of the competition. Often, the venture capital firm will perform key personal and customer references face-to-face.

After the completion of due diligence, the company will be asked to present to the entire partnership or investment committee, after which an investment decision will be made. Many deals in Israel are syndicated, so at some point additional firms become involved in the process.

As for valuing a company, the major factor is comparables. How are comparable companies being valued in the industry? The main factors for comparison are the following: stage (idea, development, beta, initial sales and sale ramp); industry (some areas are simply sexier and receive higher valuations than others); status of the management team (is it complete, or are there still key hires to be made?); and experience of the entrepreneur (second timers often command a premium). Of course, the presence (or absence) of competition will have a tremendous effect on valuation as well.

Entrepreneur in Residence Programs (EIR)

At JGV we like to do it right from the beginning rather than fix problems. We are therefore very active in forming EIRs with exceptional individuals. The way this works is as follows. An individual who has the leadership and track record, and who also has a good chemistry with us, will sit in our offices. He will interact with the partners and meet startup companies, etc., aiming at either developing a new business, or joining a startup that approached us as CEO. After a typical period of six months, we expect the EIR to have a fundable business plan. Typically we'll require another fund to lead the financing, with us joining. The reason is that we fall in love with our "baby" and lose objectiveness.

Some of our best portfolio companies, including Kashya, Chiasma, Camero, and Certagon, have started like this.

Camero, a company developing through wall imaging of people, for application of saving lives in the context of anti-terror and search and rescue is a case in point. The basic idea was brought to us by two talented ex-Mossad individuals, who just had rough ideas on how to do it and to which market it should target. We matched them with Aharon Aharon, who was an EIR in JGV at the time. Aharon, an exceptional leader with a strong track record of success, agreed to lead the company. They then spend close to a year talking to customers, building an advisory board of top generals and firefighter chiefs, developing contacts with the distribution network and defense contractors, and developing a detailed business plan. The series A funding was then led by JGV, with participation from Motorola, who is a strategic partner, and Walden International and Alta Berekeley funds.

Investment Details

Israeli term sheets are almost identical to U.S. term sheets. Some studies have shown that Israeli venture capital firms are a bit tougher than U.S. firms in terms of demanding greater liquidation preferences and full-ratchet anti-dilution in more instances.

Culturally, Israelis tend to be more aggressive negotiators than Americans and will usually spend more time negotiating term sheets and financing agreements than their American and European counterparts. This is true both of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. So people investing in Israel need to watch out for the negotiations. Also, since the Israeli industry is a bit less mature, there is slightly more emphasis on issues of management and control. Israeli venture firms may feel more strongly about obtaining veto rights in these areas.

The use of stock options is very similar to the United States, as well. However, it is worth noting that the documentation for ESOPs differs slightly due to Israeli tax rules. Generally, Israeli tax rules allow Israeli companies to use options and reverse vesting of common stock to give incentives to management; in some instances, the laws place certain restrictions on the transferability of this stock during an initial two-year period. Stock-for-stock mergers are taxable in Israel, and tax deferrals may be obtained on a case-by-case basis.

The Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel provides R&D grants to many Israeli venture-backed companies. The recipients of these grants are required to pay royalties on revenues earned as a result of the R&D performed with the grant. The recipient of a grant may not transfer the IP developed under a grant outside of the state of Israel without the approval of the Office of the Chief Scientist. These restrictions are often a cause of concern for non-Israeli venture capital firms.

The Typical Timeline

We make seed and early-stage investments and are normally looking for an exit in the four- to seven-year time frame. We look for home runs, and only make investments in companies where we believe that there is a reasonable likelihood of returning at least ten times our investment. Some of the later stage Israeli funds have set lower thresholds.

It is typical for an Israeli company to undergo a pre-seed or angel round with a few hundred thousand dollars of investment from friends and family. This is followed by a Series A round of $2 to $5 million from Israeli venture capital firms and Series B and Series C rounds involving U.S. firms and strategic investors. While there is no rule of thumb on size, most seed and early-stage deals are led by Israeli firms and investors, while the later-stage deals involve U.S. and European firms, which are closer to the portfolio companies' target market.

Israeli venture capital firms add real value in the early stages of company building. We are geographically close to the company and understand the challenges of building an international company from Israel. Plus, many Israeli ventures capitalists have entrepreneurial and operational backgrounds.

During the Series B rounds and beyond, top-tier U.S. firms add their own value. They are close to the customers, have deeper pockets, a bigger Rolodex of potential management recruits, and significant experience at later stage company building.

When it comes time to exit, the routes that local venture capitalists consider are M&A and IPO on the U.S. or European markets. Although Israel has a local stock exchange (the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange), we do not view this as a viable exit strategy, since the average market cap and liquidity of companies traded on the TASE is too small.

Advice to Management Teams and Entrepreneurs

A venture capital firm will be your partner for a very long time, and you will work together in good times and in bad. Our advice is to choose your investment partner carefully. Make sure to select a venture partner that will support you in difficult times, which you will inevitably face at some point along the road. Also, it is advisable to put time and effort into establishing a good interpersonal rapport with the individuals at the firm.

Spend time setting expectations and discussing management philosophy. Venture capital firms and entrepreneurs can have incredibly different expectations of their relationship, which can be a tremendous source of misunderstanding. The typical Israeli entrepreneur has less of an understanding of what it means to work with a venture capital firm than their U.S. counterparts. The importance of regular and detailed reporting is often underestimated by Israeli entrepreneurs who tend to stay laser focused on development during the initial months, and sometimes years, of a company's life.

Entrepreneurs should talk to customers and potential customers as much as possible, listen to what they want and be responsive. Historically, Israel has produced some fantastic technology, but Israeli entrepreneurs have often fallen prey to the "If we build it, they will come" mentality. This is a big danger.

It is also important to create competition between venture capital firms when raising funds. Nothing improves valuation like competition, and nothing gets venture capital firms more excited than the fear of losing a deal.

People should realize that there are great cultural differences between Israelis and Americans and Europeans. Although we share the same passion for technology and the core values of democracy, free markets and free press, our cultures are very different. Israelis are very direct, open and honest with their feelings and opinions. We are also a loud people, and we love to negotiate. Some foreigners perceive this behavior as rude and undisciplined, but it is simply a cultural difference. There is no bad intention behind it. In fact, it is this open and challenging culture that has led Israelis to be so entrepreneurial.

On the flip side, Israelis are not always accustomed to American and European subtleties, so nuances will often be missed. When communicating with Israelis, it's important to spell out your intentions clearly. Innuendos and hints may fly right by us.

Our Investment Philosophy

JGV invests only in Israeli or Israeli-related companies. However, we have invested and will invest in businesses that are located in the United States but founded by Israeli ex-pats. A number of Israeli venture capital firms have taken the approach of diversifying into investments in other countries, mainly the United States. These firms have typically opened offices in the States and recruited local investment professionals to lead their deals.

In the past, we considered going global with the firm. Israel has an expertise in venture capital that is second only to the United States. We thought that our expertise could be transplanted to Europe and the Far East, where venture capital environments are less developed.

But we did not implement this plan, as we were quick to learn from others' experiences. Successful seed and early-stage investments require venture capital firms to be in close geographical proximity to their portfolio companies and to meet regularly with their managers. The type of bonding that is necessary between a firm and its portfolio companies' managers also requires a cultural compatibility. You lose both when investing in foreign geographies.

We plan to remain focused on Israel in the near future. It is our opinion that the entire Israeli venture capital industry will ultimately converge back into this tried-and-true model. Although a few Israeli venture capital firms have opened offices in the United States, Europe and the Far East, we do not see them doing very many deals in these locales and believe that this model is not sustainable.

Changes & Trends

Overall, executive salaries have dropped significantly in Israel over the past three years, though they seem to have bottomed out and are now slightly on the rise. We do not expect any major increases. All management level employees receive equity compensation with options or stock grants subject to repurchase agreements, and this has not really changed.

Now that we are back to the typical scenario, in which it takes five to eight years to grow a company, we suspect that we will begin to encounter situations where management becomes fully vested and requires additional incentives while the company is still private.

We are also seeing a lot more bootstrapping than in the past. Many entrepreneurs come to us after having spent a year or two in the garage, funding themselves. This is a good test of entrepreneurs' will and drive. It also forces products to be tailored around needs that customers are willing to pay for. In addition, investment rounds are getting smaller, and entrepreneurs should expect this.

Israel boasts fantastic universities, world-class military technology units and design centers from some of the world's greatest technological giants (Intel, IBM, Motorola and Texas Instruments, for example). As a result, Israel has core strengths in the following areas: semiconductors, security software, networking software and hardware, communications hardware and homeland security. We expect these strengths to continue and grow.

Golden Rules

In the end, we think there are four golden rules for successful venture capital investing in Israel. The first is to invest in great people, particularly the CEO. The management team needs to understand what it is getting into. Building companies is incredibly difficult, demanding and stressful. The entrepreneurs themselves will make or break the company.

Second, test what we call "the customer pain" thoroughly. Make sure people are really willing to pay for a solution to whatever problem you're targeting. Third, try to syndicate, preferably with U.S.-based venture capitalists. They can provide a level of access to the U.S. markets that Israeli firms cannot. Finally, don't reinvent the wheel when it comes to financing. Stick with the U.S. standards.

Dr. Shlomo Kalish, Founder

Dr. Shlomo Kalish, founder of The Jerusalem Global Group and Jerusalem Global Ventures, is one of Israel's leading technology investors. In 1994, Shlomo founded The Jerusalem Global Group, and in 1999 he founded Jerusalem Global Ventures. Shlomo frequently appears in the media and has been featured on the cover of Upside Magazine. He has also been cited in The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Business Week and other business publications. Through the Jerusalem Global Group, Shlomo was responsible for investments in companies such as Accord, Creo, Galileo Technology, PictureVision and PowerDsine. 1997 to 1999, Shlomo served as a General Partner of Concord (K.T.) Ventures I, a leading Israeli venture capital fund, where he was responsible for the investments in Saifun Semiconductors, Exent, Oridion Medical, Oren Semiconductors and Optical Solutions.

Shlomo holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from MIT, a M.Sc. from the Sloan School of Management at MIT and a B.Sc. from Tel Aviv University. He served in the Israeli Air Force as a fighter pilot. Shlomo is also active on the boards of many non-profit organizations and academic institutions, including Shalom Beineinu, a charitable organization of which he is Chairman; the Board of Governors of Bar Ilan University; the Board of Governors of the Technion, Israel's equivalent of MIT; the Jerusalem College of Technology; and High Tech Management School, a joint venture between Northwestern University and Tel Aviv University.

Shlomo serves on the boards of directors of Chiasma, LocatioNet Systems, NotalVision, Saifun Semiconductors, Valor Computerized Systems and VideoCodes. He is also an observer on the Boards of Mellanox Technologies. To contact Shlomo, email

Micah Avni, General Partner

Micah Avni, General Partner, began his career as a corporate attorney with Yigal Arnon & Co., one of Israel's premier law firms. While at Yigal Arnon & Co., Avni was a key member of the Hi-Tech Practice Group, where he represented numerous venture capital funds and startup companies. Micah serves on the board of the Israel Venture Association and on the public advisory board of Young Entrepreneurs Israel, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Israeli youth about business and responsibility. Micah holds a law degree from the Hebrew University and a joint MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Recanati School of Management at Tel Aviv University. Prior to his legal studies, Micah served as a commander in one of the Israel Defense Force's elite combat units.

Micah currently serves on the boards of directors of Certagon and Kashya. To contact Micah, email

About Jerusalem Global Ventures

Jerusalem Global Ventures is an Israeli venture capital fund that invests in seed and early-stage communications, information technology and life sciences companies. Jerusalem Global Ventures manages $120 million in capital for investment in exceptional entrepreneurs.