Benchmark sells $80 million Wix stake

The venture capital fund only invested a few million dollars in the Israeli DIY website company.

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More than four years after its initial investment in Israeli Internet company Wix.com Ltd. (Nasdaq: WIX), US fund Benchmark Capital has liquidated its entire holding, at a handsome profit. An SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission) filing for the end of 2014 shows the funds holding in the shares of Wix at 0%. In the previous filing, from the end of February 2014, Benchmark held 10.7% of the shares.

So towards the end of 2014, Benchmark sold shares to the tune of some $80 million. Benchmark first invested in Wix in March 2010, when it led a fund raising round with an investment of a few million dollars. A year later, a further round was held, and Benchmark participated in it, but invested a lower amount. Benchmark did not invest in Wix via the Israel arm that it had at the time (that included the Israeli partners, among them Michael Eisenberg, Eli Wurtman, and Arad Naveh), but directly from the US.

When Wix held its IPO on Nasdaq at the end of 2013, Benchmark chose not to sell its holding. Wix held the IPO at $16.50 per share at a company value of $600 million. Within four months the share price had jumped 90% to $31.30 but it has since weakened. On Nsdaq today the share price is trading down 1% at $19.89, giving a market cap of $755 million. Other major shareholders include Bessamer and Mangrove, each with a 21% stake.

Wix has developed a platform, aimed at small businesses, that enables the user to set up a website easily. Wix has 58 million customers, of whom 1.1 million are paying customers. A large proportion of the company’s content services are provided free of charge; customers are charged for premium services.

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

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