From Russia with love: Titanium to invest $50 million in Tel Aviv
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Russian firm Titanium Investments has an expanding portfolio of IoT and cloud-based technology startups, mainly in Israel (image, screenshot Titanium.vc)

This Russian venture firm has the majority of its startup portfolio in Israel and wants to buy into more local entrepreneurs

Russian venture company Titanium Investments is planning to sink $50 million into Israeli tech companies in the coming year, the firm said Tuesday.

The fund’s operators have been fundraising for the last year and a half, expanding on the 20 or so companies valued collectively at $350 million the team already has in its portfolio. They hold anywhere between 3% and 17% stakes in those holdings. Noting the need to nurture those investments, Titanium is emphasizing it wants to lead its investments with mentoring in tow.

CEO Alexander Ayvazov is directing the fund as it expands its Israeli holdings, which make up 16 of the fund’s 18 investments. He says it was a natural fit investing in Silicon Wadi, but the business style is a bit of an acquired taste.

“I have had many friends and business associates in Israel throughout my whole life, and have many friends in the Jewish community in Russia,” Ayvazov told Geektime. “When I began doing research on profitable markets around the world, he realized Israel is the best place for him to to invest in, due to the combination of high quality, motivated entrepreneurs, short trips from Moscow to Tel Aviv, and the great connections I already had.”

Their largest investment so far is $4 million in Cloudyn. Ayvazov says the focus may change down the road, but 2016’s and 2017’s priorities are augmented reality and virtual reality, IoT and SAP.

Typical first investments range between $500,000 and $700,000. Their portfolio includes Wakie, Feedvisor, MV4D, Nanorep, BrightInfo, Roojoom, Any.do, Fabrika Online, Cloud Payments, Drippler, Mentad, MUV Interactive, 365 Scores, Ai.type, Cimagine and Imonomy.

“Being a Russian VC dealing mainly with Israeli companies, we’ve been facing two challenges. One, Russia has a complicated reputation, so in the first deals we had to prove themselves and establish their status. This has become less of an issue after the first few investments,” Ayvazov noted.

Israelis are known to be extremely direct — sometimes a bit too direct for investors from places like the United States. That won’t necessarily phase Russians, who are used to hard negotiating.

“Two, Russian investors who made their own capital are used to using different business approaches. They are sometimes faster but also more aggressive. Working in Israel we found it’s important to adapt to how Israelis do business, which is slightly different. It’s also a learning process, [and] we are always learning on how to improve.”

Titanium Investments has a 7-person team at the helm, led by CEO Alexander Ayvazov (top left)

Titanium Investments has a 7-person team at the helm, led by CEO Alexander Ayvazov (top left)

Titanium Investments was founded in 2013, with a 7-member team led by CEO Alexander Ayvazov, Alex Kaplun and Igor Sulkis.

While they have a lot of words, they are pretty galvanizing. Like the Iron Man suit, they seem pretty set on melding gold with Titanium to entrepreneurial creativity, as their press release declares: “Titanium is a chemical element that brings completely new features to regular metals, making it possible for new materials to be crafted. That’s how we work at Titanium Investments, seeking out companies we can have a positive impact on, helping them make it to the next level.”

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  • Crinedel

    Some of my best friends–and relatives are Russians–but I still would be verrrrry careful about investing with them! I assume the investees have multiple safeguards in place.

  • Marcie Ellison

    After watching the success of china. Russia has also started to think about its economy development and decided to invest $50 million which is good thinking by Russians.