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London-based Flashpoint seeks to invest $100 million in Israeli tech

Tech investment firm plans to raise $200 million in a secondary fund, part of which will be channeled to late-stage Israeli startups; firm has $350 million in managed assets

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Michael Szalontay, left, and Alexander Konoplyasty, co-founders of tech investment firm Flashpoint at their London HQ (Courtesy)
Michael Szalontay, left, and Alexander Konoplyasty, co-founders of tech investment firm Flashpoint at their London HQ (Courtesy)

European VC firm Flashpoint said that it plans to invest “at least” $100 million in Israeli startups over the next three years, after it raises a targeted $200 million in a secondary fund.

The London-based firm, which has $350 million in assets under management, said it has completed a first close of $70 million of the new secondary fund, and aims to close the fund by early 2022.

The new fund will invest in later-stage tech companies, providing the selected firms also with the mentorship and expertise of the Flashpoint team, the tech investment firm said in a statement.

Flashpoint, co-founded by Michael Szalontay and Alexander Konoplyasty, has already invested in Israel-based startups, including property management platform Guesty and Particula, a smart-toy company that connects players using internet of things (IoT) for dice games or Rubik’s cube.

The secondary fund is independent from Flashpoint’s existing early-stage venture capital funds and its venture debt fund, the UK-based firm said in a statement. The secondary fund is run by a dedicated team jointly led by Szalontay and Chris Baxter, who joined Flashpoint in 2020. Chris Baxter has held senior positions at financial institutions for over 15 years, including head of Investment Banking and CEO of Principal Investments at Renaissance Capital.

The new fund is being backed by existing investors, including the Scheinberg family office, the founders and former owners of online poker firm Pokerstars, sold for $4.9 billion in 2014 and to whom Flashpoint sold its stake in Chess.com three years ago. Isai Scheinberg last year pled guilty in New York to running a multimillion-dollar unlawful internet gambling business, getting a sentence of time served and a fine.

The first VC fund set up by Flashpoint’s founders was Buran Venture Capital, which focused on Russia. As the fund grew the founders set up Flashpoint, which now manages all the funds, including Buran. One of the limited partners in Buran was 01 Group, owned by Boris Mints. Dmitri Mints, the eldest son of Boris and a member of the board of directors of the O1 Group, joined the supervisory board of Buran in 2014, according to the website TAdviser. A Russian bank Promsvyazbank has reportedly filed an insolvency claim against Dmitry, Mints’s eldest son. 01 Group meanwhile has sold its stake in Buran VC, and is not a partner in any of the Flashpoint funds anymore.

Flashpoint invests in international software firms founded by entrepreneurs in Central and Eastern Europe, Israel, the Baltics, Finland and the CIS.

“Since launching Flashpoint, we have made investments in 29 tech businesses, with 66 follow-ons and exited eight companies,” said Flashpoint co-founder and General Partner, Alexander Konoplyasty. This new fund “further embeds us within local tech ecosystems across Israel and Europe.”

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