An Israeli incubator for entrepreneurs in its Arab community called Takwin Labs has announced that it has raised $4.5 million in a series A round of funding.
The new funds were raised from Israeli, Arab and American investors, and it hopes to bring in $20 million in funding.
The Haifa based Takwin, which means genesis or start in Arabic, helps Israeli Arab founded mobile and internet technology startups get off the ground. It plans to provide hundreds of thousands of Dollars in seed funding to as many as 6 new companies over the next year.
Takwin also hopes to foster the development of products for hundreds of millions of Arab speakers around the world, which, if it succeeds, should prove to be quite profitable.
It was founded by Labor Party member of the Israeli Knesset Erel Margalit who was also a founder of Jerusalem Venture Partners, the son of Shimon Peres, Chemi Peres, founder and managing partner at Pitango Venture Capital and the chairman of Al Bawader the first Israeli VC firm that invests in Arab startups, and Israeli Arab Imad Telhami whose own company Babcom is a large employer of Israeli Arabs in the high tech realm.
Telhami says that as an Arab entrepreneur he knows how difficult it is for Arab Israelis to start their own companies which is what prompted him to found Takwin. As he told Geektime, “I believe that the foundation we have established will allow more and more entrepreneurs succeed in Arab society and realize their vision and become significant players to the Israeli high-tech map of the world.”
“There is huge potential among Israeli Arabs, who with investment and proper advice can achieve a breakthrough in innovative fields, giving hope to many young people in the community and showing that people believe in them and will give them an opportunity, ” Margalit told The Jerusalem Post.
Interestingly, the incubator’s CEO and managing partner is a Jewish Israeli Itzik Frid.