They began raising for their fund in September of last year, setting the $75 million goal as the amount needed to get their vision off the ground
In a release issued on Sunday, Israel’s State of Mind Ventures (SOM) announced the close of their first fund, bringing in a substantial $75 million in capital for their investments.
SOM was co-founded by Pinhas Buchris and Yuval Baharav in January of last year. Both men have long careers in tech and business. Baharav is a former partner at Sequoia and served as general manager for M&A, Strategy, and Corporate Development at Amdocs. For his part, Buchris came up through the IDF in the elite special forces unit Sayeret Matkal, serving as the youngest soldier at Entebbe. He studied computers at the Technion before coming back to command the 8200 Israeli intelligence cyber unit.
They began raising for their fund in September of last year, setting the $75 million goal as the amount needed to get their vision off the ground.
During that time, the pair and their CFO Nir Adler wasted no time in seeking out and funding early stage Israeli startups.
So far they have invested in four different ventures:
1. SpacePharma: They enable their clients to launch nanolabs into space for sophisticated tests in only months while monitoring and controlling them from Earth.
2. Twiggle: They have revolutionized search for e-commerce with advanced AI solutions
3. Perception Point: Still in stealth mode, they are developing advanced defenses for unknown threats.
4. Cabara: A different kind of cyber security firm, working to defend retailers, publishers, and other website owners from malicious bots and other bad actors
“We are happy that we were able to raise around half of the fund from Israeli institutional investors,” says Baharav, adding that, “We’re an Israeli fund and for us to manage funds that are part of people’s lives here is really significant and contributes to the sense of being a responsible and disciplined investor.”
The remainder of the funding came from what Baharav describes to Geektime as “well known venture capitalists and family offices from around the world.”
Guiding principles driving their investment
Baharav tells Geektime that their motivation for opening the fund and investing in early stage technologies comes from multiple layers of who they are and their long term vision of the role of technology in shaping the future.
“The first thing is like any other entrepreneur in the sense that you want to create something new, to build your own business. It’s the same thing as when you found a startup, it’s exciting,” he tells Geektime by phone. “We both felt that we can really help companies and entrepreneurs to succeed and do it right.”
“We felt that there is a real significant opportunity to operate in this space of super technological startups, companies that build tomorrow’s technological infrastructure,” he explains. Baharav lists fields like space, AI, computer vision, cyber, nano technology, augmented reality, new chipsets and communication as areas of interest for them, noting that, “In all of these fields we experience new innovations and radical points of view on how to build.”
In looking at technology that will create tomorrow’s life and environment, the SOM team believes that Israel is going to be a global leader in creating this innovation and driving it to the market.
Going back to the personal dimension, Baharav says that, “Working with the teams that are creating these innovations on a daily basis is really a trip. It makes many aspects of our lives fun and enriching.”
Having recently participated in a second round of funding with Twiggle, SOM appears unlikely to be coming out with any funding announcements in the near term. Baharav tells Geektime that while, “We’re actively looking at deal flow and getting approaches, there’s nothing imminent.”