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Israeli venture capital firm Aleph raises $300m fund for early-stage investments

Company, with assets under management at $850m, has invested in Lemonade, Melio, WeWork, Empathy

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Startups and Business editor and reporter.

Aleph VC founders from right: Michael Eisenberg, Eden Shochat, Yael Elad, Aaron Rosenson and Tomer Diari. (Aleph VC)
Aleph VC founders from right: Michael Eisenberg, Eden Shochat, Yael Elad, Aaron Rosenson and Tomer Diari. (Aleph VC)

Israeli venture capital firm Aleph has raised a new $300 million fund to invest in early-stage startups, the company said Sunday.

The firm’s fourth such fund, Aleph IV, brings some $850 million in assets under management (AUM) for the company.

Aleph was founded in 2013 as an equal partnership between Michael Eisenberg, previously with San Francisco-based venture firm Benchmark Capital, and Eden Shochat, a co-founder of facial recognition startup Face.com, acquired by Facebook (now Meta) in 2012. They were later joined by Aaron Rosenson, previously with Insight Partners, Yael Elad, formerly with Genesis, and Tomer Diari, who came on board earlier this year from Bessemer Venture Partners.

Eisenberg wrote in a post on Sunday that Aleph looks to partner with “ambitious Israeli entrepreneurs who want to build large, meaningful companies and impactful global brands from Israel.” With this fourth fund, Eisenberg said the company would now be open to working with “remote companies, too, as long as we can add value with our network and platform and knowledge of Israel.”

Aleph has invested in over three dozen companies including WeWork, insurance tech company Lemonade, music app maker JoyTunes, business management software firm Honeybook (now valued at over $2 billion), fintech startup Melio, one of the fastest-growing companies in Israel, Healthy.io, a maker of an FDA-approved smartphone app that allows users to take urine analysis tests at home, and Empathy, the developer of a platform that helps families navigate the complicated bureaucratic journey after losing a loved one

Eisenberg wrote that Aleph was “devoted to accelerating startups to scaleups and working together to transform industries and the world.”

In an interview with The Times of Israel in October, Eisenberg said that Israeli entrepreneurs increasingly wanted to address “problems facing humanity,” pointing to startups like Healthy.io and Empathy.

Companies today are driven by “brains, heart, and soul,” as well as “values that matter.”

Eisenberg also said the aspirations of Israeli entrepreneurs have grown in recent years and they now “want to build global brands that are successful.”

“They bring moxy and aspirations. And they want to build something meaningful,” he added.

This shift was highlighted sharply this year as Israel’s tech ecosystem wraps up a record year for funding and “exits,” defined as merger and acquisition deals or initial public offerings (IPO) of shares. Israeli companies raised over $25 billion between January and November this year, and tech firms saw exits jump an astonishing 520 percent in 2021 (by mid-December) to an unprecedented $81.2 billion in value, shattering all previous records.

This year was also marked by a significant increase in local acquisitions, where Israeli companies buy local startups and firms as part of their growth strategy. Thirty-nine such deals were carried out in 2021, the highest number on record, up from 21 in 2020.

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