Steven Mnuchin who was treasury secretary in the Trump administration, and former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman are establishing a new investment vehicle, Liberty Strategic, based in Washington with office in Tel Aviv.
The fund, with the backing of Persian Gulf state finances, will have billions of dollars under management. Friedman will represent the fund in Israel. It is unclear whether Yossi Cohen, former head of the Mossad, is joining the fund as rumors said in the past.
The fud will invest in cyber, finance, network solutions, and other investment areas. Establishing an office in Israel aims to take advantage of the exceptionally advanced technology, particularly in cybersecurity and finance. Mnuchin overseeing cybersecurity for the entire financial services industry of the US, including the IRS, and is seeking to invest in startups in related fields.
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Mnuchin and Friedman are presently visiting Tel Aviv which Yaron Karni of Maverick Ventures initiated. The two mate five of Maverick’s portfolio startups in the early phases of growth. The fund has made 36 investments to date.
One of those companies was cyber startup Perimeter 81. A cloud and network security company that specializes in developing safe distant networks for businesses using a zero-trust architecture. They designed its solution to take the place of legacy security equipment such as VPNs and firewalls. Mnuchin and Friedman requested a meeting with the founders to learn more about the business and expressed interest in participating in the company’s next round of recruitment.
According to Calcalist, Perimeter 81 founded in 2018 by Sagi Gidley and Amit Barkat and already serves about 1,600 commercial customers and enterprises worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies. A year after its establishment (November 2019) the company raised $10 million at a $50 million valuation from Sonic Wall, which is controlled by the Francisco Partners Fund. Six months later (May 2020) the company’s valuation jumped to $160 million in an addition investment round lead by Insight Fund. in March 2021. A scandalous deal in March 2021 in which Insight and other corporations acquired stockholders’ stakes increased the company’s value to $330 million.