2019 and we’re off to a new year. We made predictions for the new year and now it’s time to see those predictions through. While there has been much activity in the Israeli technology ecosystem over the past decade in regard to the amount of venture capital funding raised (with money raised used as a benchmark for success among startups) the venture model is not perfect. Many forward-thinking investors and entrepreneurs have been exploring different models in order to maximize capital’s impact and returns. A financially successful investment is successful because it is able to create immense value, money is just a byproduct of value. While traditional early stage venture investors in Israel have been reluctant to invest in socially conscious endeavors things have changed in recent years. Below the Clearview Partners team will highlight some of the social impact funds that you need to know in Israel that are moving the dial forward on impact.
One of the first venture capital funds to bring investment in socially conscious opportunities in Israel to the business community's awareness. This fund’s advisory board is chaired by well-known early stage venture capitalist Chemi Peres; the fund was created in order to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing humanity. Best to start with solving local problems in your own backyard and expand globally. In true global fashion their investment thesis falls in line with goals outlined by the UN in its Sustainable Development Goals such as energy efficiency, water conservation, and prevention of food waste.
The social impact venture space has an investor profile that is as diverse as the verticals they invest in. ZORA Ventures is a woman founded fund led by Vanessa Bartam that already has one exit under its belt and has continued to grow and invest in the local ecosystem. The fund takes a thoughtful approach to investing in Israeli social enterprises along UN Sustainable Development Goals. Their blog reflects this thoughtfulness and openness and breaks with the traditional venture model as they approach their portfolio companies as partners for change. As Vanessa Bartam their Managing Partner states “we launched ZORA to highlight Israel's incredible impact entrepreneurs who are using tech to tackle -- at scale -- our planet's most pressing challenges. With five investments and one exit under to date, we're now launching a new impact fund to add another twelve companies to our portfolio.”
The 2B Community encompasses an ecosystem of social good. As their founder Yoel Cheshin states in this recent Forbes piece by Startup Nation Central covering his work “there shouldn't be a distinction between impact and non-impact. Every investment should bring value to the world!” In that regards the organization under his vision has created several successful impact related endeavors; 2B Angels, 2B Community, and 2B Friendly, a non-profit focused on social consumerism. All the interconnected 2B endeavors have the underlying theme of doing good with a uniquely Israeli version of being a “conscious capitalist”.
The IDF’s intelligence corps, 8200, and the surrounding intelligence ecosystem have built a reputation of excellence in creating world class cybersecurity companies. With support from these units this social accelerator draws on the cache, resources, and mentoring the unit offers, but has opened applications to those outside of 8200 alumni. While the 8200 Social Program is technically a non-profit, we chose to include it here because of the unique value proposition that it offers and that it is a female led initiative. Under the leadership of Managing Director Neta-Li Meiri the organization has grown significantly, gained international exposure, and showcased an example of social good associated with the IDF.
Like many millennial driven changes in the economy, the Israeli venture community has learned to understand the value of not just providing a return, but also providing value by making a social impact. We’re optimistic about this change and the growth of this type of venture investing in the coming years.