On a low profile visit to Israeli incubator, TheTime, Abramovich met with several companies as he considers possible investments in the Israeli startup scene
Billionaire, Roman Abramovich, the Jewish businessman and Russian oil tycoon, arrived today for a low profile visit to the Tel Aviv offices of TheTime (Disclosure: The Time Investment Corporation is one of the investors in Geektime). According to reports, Abramovich is looking for potential investments in Israeli startups, and/or considering joining and investing in the incubator itself. Roman Abramovich, who was listed as 50th Forbes’ richest men of 2012, has an estimated net worth of $14.6B.
Directs investments in technology?
Mr Abramovich’s interest in technology is quite new. His last deal was signed this past January, when Abramovich bought 3.5 shares of Oxford Catalysts, a company developing technology to turn natural gas into liquid fuel, for $10M. Abramovich’s former investment was in line with his primary occupation of natural resources, rather than the purely technological direction he’s recently been feeling out.This is the second time he visited TheTime, this time with his wife. His last solo visit of a few weeks ago, was of an even lower profile than this one. Geektime learned that Mr Abramovich toured other incubators, startups and accelerators, in addition to TheTime.
Beyond the closed door meeting held between Ilan Shiloach, Uri Weinheber, and Abramovich, Abramovich was also introduced to several companies at the incubator, including; BioGaming, Zrro, Stergen and WallStream – each of which, Geektime has reviewed in the past. Ron Field, CEO of WallStream told Geektime: “The presentation moved us forward in a big way. This is a man of great stature who was interested and asked about our product. He was especially interested in the business model of the company. He asked if we are able to connect to the Russian market in terms of exposure and interactivity. We parted having formed a strong connection and we hope to continue to be in contact with Mr Abramovich, working with him to reach other investors and inroads into the Russian market place.”
David Klein, founder and CEO of BioGaming, told Geektime: “We presented our platform to Mr Abramovich, and explained to him that the product is already used by athletes, so you can see the beginning of the revolution this product will make in the worlds of medicine, sports and prevention – areas in which Mr Abramovich was especially interested in. We are excited about the great interest Mr. Abramovich is showing in Israeli startups, and we hope to continue our relationship with him, and with groups of investors from around the world for future collaboration.”
Football teams and private planes
Abramovich is known outside of Russia for his investments in sports teams, famous among them is Chelsea, a successful English football team. Abramovich’s investments in Chelsea London sports club brought the team many successes, including wins in the England Championship and European Championship. Also, Abramovich invested $58M in a Russian football team called CSKA Moscow, as part of a sponsorship agreement.
Most of Abramovich’s wealth was earned through the purchase of shares in industrial companies that were privatized after the fall of the communist regime in Russia. Abramovich is the majority shareholder of the oil giant Sibneft, which he purchased with his friend, Boris Berezovsky, for $200M, when the company’s estimated value at the time sat at $2.7B. In 2005, the billionaire sold 75% of his holdings in Sibneft to Gazprom for a sum estimated at $13.1B. Also, Abramovich holds shares of the Company RUSAL, estimated to be the second largest aluminum company in the world.
In 2010, Abramovich purchased a luxury yacht named ‘Eclipse’, considered to be the world’s largest yacht, for an amount of $1.2B. Abramovich also owns a Boeing 767-300, an Airbus A340-300E, a Falcon-700 jet and three helicopters; an EC-145, an EC-135T1, and a EC-155B.