Gong, Wiz, Figma, Notion, Roblox, Dropbox, Etsy, Patreon, Robinhood, and Discord. These names sound familiar? Well, they are all a part of Index Ventures’ portfolio; they are one of the most prominent venture capital funds in the world. Despite uncertainties flooding the entire market, today (Thursday) Index announces the launch of a new fund, which will invest in Israeli startups among others. In an interview with Geektime, they explained what and who they are looking for, and why this period is the right time to start a new company or invest in them.
Figma’s first cheque, and Wiz from the very beginning
Index's new fund, Index Origin II, will amount to $300 million and will focus on the seed and Series A rounds, to invest in at least 5 Israeli startups soon. The fund's cheques range from 5 to 8 million dollars, with potential follow-up investments, as they did with Wiz and Fireblocks.
All in all, the fund has invested in 27 Israeli startups to date, including Elastic, MyHeritage, Outbrain, Dazz, Capitolis, Gong, Fireblocks, Adallom, and Wiz. Recently, the fund opened an office in Tel Aviv led by Juriaan Duizendstraal. Shardul Shah, one of the most respected investors in the world, who was involved in the investments of Wiz and Adallom, will remain involved with the investments taking place in Israel. He specializes in the world of security.
In a conversation with Geektime, Juriann Duizendstraal, a partner in the fund and its representative in Israel, explained that Index's goal is to significantly increase the number of investments in Israel: "We believe that Israel will continue to produce many significant companies in the coming decade. We are looking to increase our portfolio significantly and be much more active in Israel ... A presence in Israel is a natural extension of our existing focus."
The firm prides itself on accompanying the startups from the seed stages to the pre-IPO stages; for their new fund, they have made certain adjustments for support. Among other things, they offer a team that will help build strategies for recruiting critical staff; access to decision makers in large companies for feedback; access to experts in various fields; assistance to the founders in planning the company's first stock and option plan. Duizendstraal points out that in the case of Wiz, the fund helped with access to first customers, recruitment of senior staff, and strategic consulting, all apart from the initial investment.
Recently, Index had a huge win, as Figma, a startup that received its first cheque from Index, was sold to Adobe for $20 billion.
Maintaining–even increasing– activity
"Although it seems counterintuitive, we believe that now is the time to help start new companies, join them, and invest in them. It is precisely in these times that the best companies grow and establish the next big thing. From Airbnb to Adyen, to Slack and Skype. The investors who have been with us for almost three decades know this, and their approach is for the long term. As a result, we were able to raise this fund successfully, with great demand," explained Duizendstraal.
According to him, the fund is currently looking for founders who are trying to solve big and difficult problems. The fund does not currently have a preconceived number of transactions it will make and comes with an open-minded approach. To our question about whether there will be a change in the nature of the fund's investment, he replied: "We are very consistent in the way we invest in both recessions and booms. At seed and Series A levels, we expect the volume of activity to be maintained and even increase. As in the past, we are looking for exceptional founders and teams, with unique insight for dealing with large markets. This has not and will not change."