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Carmel Ventures Raises $194 Million, Invested in Olmert’s Son’s PlayBuzz

Shlomo Dovrat picture Eyal Yitzhar

Israeli venture capital firm Carmel Ventures, a member of the Viola Group, has announced the final closing of its latest investment fund, Carmel Ventures IV, with total commitments of $194 million. Carmel Ventures says that Fund IV, like its predecessor funds, will be invested in early-stage transformative technology companies in high growth sectors that include enterprise software, data center infrastructure, big data, cyber security, FinTech, digital media and consumer applications.

Carmel began investing out of the new fund in January 2014 and has made investments in Shaul Olmert’s PlayBuzz, which raised $3 million, and LuckyFish, which raised $1.6 million, and three other early stage technology companies.

Fund IV was raised with equity commitments from global institutional investors that include a significant number of return investors as well as selected new investors. In addition, several Asian strategic investors have joined the new fund including search giant Baidu, financial services company Ping-An, and anti-virus and Internet services provider Qihoo360, amongst others. Fund IV is led by six partners: Shlomo Dovrat, Avi Zeevi, Ori Bendori, Ronen Nir, Daniel Cohen and Itzik Avidor. As in previous funds, Fund IV includes a significant equity investment by Carmel’s General Partners and affiliates.

“Technology entrepreneurs and the venture industry in Israel have become more focused on building significant companies. Carmel has been at the forefront of these developments and is involved with several world class companies coming out of Israel, ” said Kathryn Mayne, Managing Director of Horsley Bridge Partners. “We value our strong relationship with Carmel Ventures and are pleased to continue our successful partnership with them in Fund IV.”

“We are delighted to be making our first investment in an Israeli Venture fund with Carmel Ventures, ” said Daniel Tu, Group Chief Innovation Officer at Ping An Group of China. “Carmel offers us reliable access to Israeli innovation and we look forward to partnering with them.”

“Building global, significant Israeli technology companies is what we’re passionate about at Carmel, ” said Shlomo Dovrat, co-founder and General Partner at Carmel Ventures. “We are committed to backing visionary Israeli entrepreneurs who aspire to transform industries and markets on a global scale, and build world class companies. We hope to back those teams early on and be helpful to them as they scale up. We are fortunate to work with many exceptional entrepreneurial teams; companies such as ironSource, Outbrain and Payoneer are transforming entire industries, generating significant revenues and have become global leaders.”

Outbrain is one of Carmel Ventures most prominent investments in recent years. Its value is estimated at over $1 billion, and it is expected to make an IPO next year. ironSource is another significant portfolio company. It is estimated to be worth about $1.6 billion, and it too is likely to make an IPO next year.

Carmel Ventures made an exit last year with the $150 million sale of Kontera to Amobee, now owned by SingTel of Singapore. But in the past year or two, the firm has not featured much in exits, even though the Israeli venture capital industry in general recorded quite a few successful ones. The last three substantial exist by the firm, besides Kontera, were the sales of DesignArt Networks to Qualcomm, CopperGate to Sigma, and Wanova to VMware.

Carmel Ventures manages over $800 million of investor capital and is invested in 35 active companies. Its new fund follows the raising of a fourth fund, of $150 million, by Magma Ventures a month ago, which it is planned will invest in 25-30 companies, starting in 2015.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com

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