iAngels Cobbles Small Investments into Successful Ventures in Israel’s Startup World

(L-R) Mor-Assia-and- Shelly-Hod-Moyal-PR2

Mor Assia (33) and Shelly Hod Moyal (31) own iAngels, a successful start-up company which, in its first year, has enlisted 400 investment angels from around the world, who completed investment in 15 Israeli start-ups—a remarkable achievement.

We met in their Tel Aviv office, in a building that houses dozens of start-ups in a creative, luxurious and truly huge surrounding. Assia and Moyal are good friends, their relationship appears harmonious.

Both women grew up in academic and business environments in Israel and the U.S. The knowledge and skills they had picked up, as well as a generous backing from home, led them to establish iAngels, an online investment platform connecting individual investors from around the world with Israeli start-ups.


The fundamental difference between iAngels and other investment platforms is that its foreign investors are joining only under the following conditions:

• The startup candidate ahs already received investments in a prior round

• The Company has been vetted by an experienced Israeli Angel with deep knowledge of the local market and a proven track record

• The Israeli Angel invests $100, 000 — the idea being the angel is able to say that they, too, have invested in the company they’re recommending

• iAngels itself has conducted a thorough due diligence research and knows who else is interested in this company, who isn’t, and why

• iAngels received an approval for this investment from its advisory committee


When all the above conditions are met, iAngels turns to overseas investors and invities them to join with sums starting at $5, 000, with the average investment at around $25, 000. iAngels pools 10-15 individuals and invests in each venture around 250, 000.

“We invest under similar conditions to those of Israeli angels, ” Moyal explains. “We always get in as a significant investor, entitled to information and options for the next rounds. All our partners share these rights.”

Their investors are people they’ve met along the way, who feel comfortable working with Assia and Moyal and trust them.

iAngel’s charges a 5 percent fee on investments to cover expenses, and 15 percent carried interest at the exit point.


Highly professional 

The fund was initiated by Mor Assia, who did her military service in the IDF cyber unit 8200. She completed an MBA at Columbia University, and worked at IBM’s strategic department, at SAP, and at Amdocs Israel. She worked directly with management on merger and acquisition proposals.

Mor Assia says those experiences gave her the ability to see five steps ahead: “I know how a big company is considering acquiring companies, what it looks for, what it needs to see—and I know how to respond to these inquiries, well before we get to the final destination, when the investment is realized.”

She mulled the idea of establishing iAngels with her husband numerous times, but to get it going she needed a good friend by her side. Shelly was a perfect fit.

Shelly Hod Moyal, a graduate of Hunter College, came to the partnership with a rich financial experience. She worked as analyst for Avenue Capital, investment consultant at UBS bank, and in her last job, at Goldmn Sachs’ Israel, she dealt with strategic financial consulting, mergers, acquisitions, and offerings.

Assia Mor pulled her from that last position to her new venture.

“It was not easy to bring me to the project, ” says Shelly, “Working for Goldman Sachs was fascinating. But after I had given birth to my daughter, I was ready to start something of my own which I can bring my experience into play. So I went back to Mor and said I was ready.”

We are good friends and we complement each other’s our knowledge, ” Mor Assia adds to Shelly’s note. “I really wanted to launch this particular project with her. ”

They’re interested in investment in the Internet, mobile, video, apps, new media, advertising, marketing and gaming.

These are the founders.


Family Ties and the global tech boom

But that’s not the whole story. The background story is equally as interesting.

Among the Israeli angels collaborating with iAngels you’ll find familiar names from Israel’s start-up world, like Dov Moran, Gigi Levy, Tal Barnoach, Daniel Recanati, Yaki Margalit and David Assia.

That last name, David Assia, founder of Magic Software, is the father of Yoni Assia, Mor’s husband. Yoni’s grandfather, Yehuda Assia used to be director and shareholder of the Bank for Foreign Trade, until its sale to First International Bank. After the sale, Yehuda Assia set up a private equity fund in Switzerland.


L-R Yoni Asia eToro and Kfir Moyal Cyhawk Ventures


Mor met Yoni at the elite IDF 8200 unit, the best military intelligence gathering apparatus. According to Business Insider, Unit 8200 is running, or at the very least, driving a global tech boom, this isn’t a new story though.

In 2006, Yoni Assia founded and became CEO of the successful start-up eToro, an international social network for financial investments.

Yoni shared this venture with his brother Ronen, another relative, David Ring, his father David Assia (as investor and chairman) and his mother Naomi Assia, whose law firm specializes in hi-tech and intellectual property.

Spark Capital, which invested in eToro, has also invested in Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr.

The concept behind eToro is that of a social investment platform, in which each user can watch the investment activities of other users and copy them. Like ordinary social networks, the site features a news feed of investments according to user names, their countries, and the type of investment they made: purchase/sale of goods, commodities, currencies, etc.

Users can keep track of investors, view graphs of their performance, review their investment history, copy their actions, and chat with them. eToro’s business model relies on charging of every transaction executed through the website.

To date there have been 130 million transactions done through the site.


$1 million by age 20

Shelly Hod Moyal’s husband, Kfir Moyal, and his friend Assaf Ben-Asher, have managed to earn, by age 20, a million dollars each, through marketing in affiliate networks.

Together, they began to develop different methods to promote websites and advertising networks, and formed a company called Matomy, which is valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The two also run an investment fund in marketing and advertising named Cyhawk Ventures.

Living as they did in a creative business environment, establishing iAngels  was only a matter of time for Mor and Shelly.

“Israel has become a very prosperous center in terms of start-ups, ” explains Mor Assia. “It’s been attracting a lot of attention for years, and it is considered the world’s second largest center after Silicon Valley.”

She continues: “Investors are very curious about Israeli companies and we offer them all the tools that allow them to make an informed decision. After all, Israel is very far, and it’s important for us to give them all the information, including conversations with CEO’s. They ask questions and make decisions, and together we build their portfolio.”

Some of their clients have already invested in 7 or 8 companies, without visiting Israel even once.

As time goes by and they have proven themselves to their investors, showing them how much they care about their benefit and profits, they’re willing to go far to give investors the sense that they are in safe hands—and so more and more deals are coming their way.

Success is already at hand.

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