"Entrepreneurs must realize - there is no more money"

Gemini general partner Menashe Ezra was named Israel's outstanding venture capitalist by the College of Management's High-Tech CEOS Forum..

"I am worried at the macro level," Gemini Israel Funds general partner Menashe Ezra told "Globes". "Warren Buffett said that we're facing an economic Pearl Harbor, and I feel that, in Israel, the understanding that we're at war has not sunk in."

Ezra added, "One of the things that is bothering me is that we'll experience a local patriotism. I think that globalization will take a few steps back. In Germany and the US, people realize that if they buy a locally made car they're helping themselves."

Ezra said that there was a need for a reevaluation of the situation. "In recent years, we had too much money here. There was a bubble, and entrepreneurs could fund companies without paying a price. They left big companies and got similar salaries at private companies and start-ups. They received stocks and options. This had never happened before in Israel or in the world. It happened because of the surplus of money and incautious behavior, and it created distortions."

"Globes": Do you think that this will change?

Ezra: "Absolutely. It's important that more entrepreneurs realize that there will be no more money anytime soon. The faster they get this, the easier it will be for them. 15 years ago, I founded a company with an investment of $15 million, and we achieved a positive cash flow and not just profitability. Today's numbers are completely different, and it's a tough problem."

Ezra was named Israel's outstanding venture capitalist by the College of Management's High-Tech CEOS Forum. He joined Gemini from BRM Capital last year. Before working at BRM, he was an investor in some of Israel's most successful start-ups, including investments in Passave Technologies, which was acquired by PMC Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS) for $350 million, and in Oplus, which was acquired by Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC). Earlier, he founded WaveAccess, which was acquired by Lucent, and he then served as a VP at the company.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 20, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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