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Canada’s Awz Ventures Puts Millions Into New Deal With Israel’s Defense Ministry

Yaron Ashkenazi, Founder and Managing Partner Awz Ventures Inc. (Photo Credit: Tomer Jacobson)

Canadian VC firm Awz Ventures has established a joint venture with MAFAT—the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D)—and other Israeli security agencies. The new venture will invest in “pre-seed” and “inception” stage companies developing innovative security technologies with significant commercial applications in the civilian sector.

Globes reports that the new venture has already put $82.5 million down for its first fund that will invest in “unique security and intelligence technologies.”

MAFAT is the Israel Ministry of Defense DDR&D, responsible for supporting the entire Israel defense infrastructure in scientific and technological projects and finds solutions to Israel’s most pressing security challenges.

Established in 2016, Awz Ventures is a Canadian-based global hub for venture capital investments in cyber security, intelligence and physical security AI-based technologies from Israel, a global leader in these sectors. The firm was founded by Israeli businessman Yaron Ashkenazi and includes the former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a partner.

Yaron Ashkenazi is a former officer who served in Israel’s Shin Bet, security services.

Awz manages $130 Million between its first two venture capital funds, having made early stage investments in 17 companies to date. Awz management and advisors include former senior executives from global security and intelligence agencies (Mossad, ISA, CIA, FBI, MI5, CSIS, CAF), and international business and venture capital experts.

Awz explains that each portfolio company will receive a non-dilutive business package including office space in the Awz X-Seed hub and advanced marketing, business development, and technology mentorship services provided by the hub’s in-house professional team. Portfolio companies will further benefit from Awz Ventures’ business development offices in Canada, the US, and UAE that will support the companies in expanding their global client base.

Awz X-Seed will initially invest an average of $3 million to $5 million in each portfolio company. Additionally, the best performing companies will be considered for follow-on investment rounds by Awz Ventures’ growth-stage funds, alongside third-party investors.

Managing Partner and Founder of Awz Ventures Mr. Yaron Ashkenazi explained, “Awz Ventures’ unique strategic partnership with MAFAT and Israel’s other security agencies will allow our hub to have the most advanced deal flow that stems from the real recognized needs within the security industry that also have multiple applications within the commercial sector.” Ashkenazi added, “We will address these needs and gaps in the marketplace both by investing in existing companies and by creating companies together from scratch.”

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