Omri Casspi, who spent almost a decade in the NBA and was Israel’s national basketball team’s captain, is launching “Sheva,” a new venture capital fund dedicated to investing in early-stage startups. The fund was co-founded by David Citron, an early-stage venture capital investor. David was most recently Global Founders Capital’s partner in Israel, leading the giant European firm’s activities in the Israel ecosystem.
Omri Casspi had the opportunity to play in the NBA with great players who were also active tech investors, which inspired him to become an active angel investor. DocuSign and DayTwo are two of the companies he involves in today. Casspi increased his engagement in the early-stage technology market upon his retirement and return to Israel, amassing a portfolio of over a dozen firms in the last few years.
Casspi met David Citron during his efforts to become more involved in the venture capital ecosystem. “Omri originally contacted me over LinkedIn. I’ve always been a basketball lover, having grown up watching Omri represent Israel. However, a connection request from someone like Casspi appeared to be a phishing effort,” Citron recalls.
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’ve always been the hardest worker; first one at the gym, last one to leave. I believe that the same level of energy is what’s required of an early-stage founder, and I’m eager to bring my hustle and robust network that I was fortunate enough to build over my career to provide real differentiated value to our founders” shares Casspi.
“David and I have very little overlap in the value that we bring to our portfolio, which we believe is a significant force multiplier. This combined with our fantastic community of LPs who include celebrities, influences, unicorn founders, angel investors, and successful GPs is what we believe to be a winning formula for true value add.”
Citron has previously invested in Frontegg, Sorbet, Cyolo, and Faros AI. “We quickly clicked and began co-investing in a number of early-stage firms. Our rapport was so strong that our joint portfolio firms suggested we collaborate on our weekly calls. We were already considering the viability of creating a fund, but hearing this message from entrepreneurs many times convinced us of the product-market fit, and so we decided to go all-in and launch Sheva.”
Caspi is not the first to turn athlete or celebrity becoming VC investor. Many successful funds have been utilizing the unique value proposition of a celebrity GP led fund. They have been leveraging their network, status and audience to help their portfolio companies in many aspects. Funds such as Sound Ventures, KD35, Penny Jar, and investors like Andre Iguadala or Alex Rodgriguez.
Sheva is a $50 million fund that invests in pre-seed and seed-stage startups, as well as selective Series A deals. The fund seeks to invest in twenty businesses, each worth between $1 million and $2 million.
The fund began operations in early 2022 and has already invested in a variety of financial, cyber security, and web3 ventures. Institutional investors, family offices, technology entrepreneurs, and extremely active crossover funds that have been investing extensively globally are among the fund’s investors.
“We’re combining two successful VC models that have been battle-tested around the world; the celebrity and veteran VC pairing, and an early-stage investment model that focuses on investing in as many companies as possible at the early stage, and then doubling down on the emerging winners together with the LPs. We believe LPs should be far more involved in the investment lifecycle of the portfolio, and our investors are very eager to participate in direct investment opportunities together with us”, said Citron.