Investment Opportunities For HNWIS In Israel's Hi-Tech Ecosystem

Author:Mr Yarom Romem
Profession:Yigal Arnon & Co

Israeli hi-tech and its sources of funding have grown and diversified tremendously since the bubble burst in 2001. While traditional venture capital (VC) funds and angel investors command a large portion of finance, investment platforms have diversified and other offerings have been created to suit various types of backers.

One of these, the accredited investor platform, may be more suitable to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) who are unable to invest the amounts required in a traditional VC, or are reluctant to be an angel investor.

Venture capitalists investing in Israeli hi-tech include a wide variety of funds - some more international in nature, often with an Israeli office, or with specific Israeli-designated funds - while others are solely Israelibased and focused.

Despite the frequently reported death of VC, the funds have generally managed to retain standard VC economics of two and 20 (2-2.5 per cent management fee per annum, plus 20 per cent of profits as "carried interest").

VC provides a dedicated investment team, economically motivated primarily by a substantial share of the profits. The model is predicated upon "big tickets", with investors generally required to commit a minimum of $500,000 (£383,000) to $1m, over a period of seven to 10 years. The investor is entirely dependent on the fund's investment team, with no discretion of its own or an ability to redeem holdings.

Prominent investor platforms

Angel investors are generally individuals backing directly into seed and early-stage companies. An angel investor does not enjoy the designated investment team of a VC, which sources investments and performs due diligence but, on the other hand, has no management fee or carried interest payable and the decisions are all its own.

Angels often have a problem protecting their positions going forward and generally make their investments under the assumption that they will be greatly diluted until the company reaches an exit.

Over the past few years, accredited investor funding platforms have become a major source of funding for Israeli hi-tech. The most well-known are OurCrowd and iAngels. These platforms source deal flow as much as a VC would, perform due diligence and enter into term sheets with the target companies but, unlike VCs that then call previously committed capital from their investors, these platforms put the target company up on their website...

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