Intel Capital is planning to expand its operations, with an emphasis on Israel. The investment arm of Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) has been operating in Israel for 15 years, and has been involved in some of the country's top high-tech companies. As part of the process, and future plans, the fund today added two Israeli investment managers, Yair Shoham and Merav Weinryb, who will work with Uri Arazi, Intel Capital's investment manager in Israel.
Intel Capital Western Europe and Israel managing director Marcos Battisti says that the increase in activity is driven by the need to adjust activity to the number of opportunities that the fund finds in Israel. "The facts are that we need to invest more here, and make a greater effort. We see the opportunities, and we think that we should increase our bet here," he said.
Intel Capital, which began operations in 1991, has invested in more than 60 Israeli companies in a range of fields, out of the 1,200 companies it has invested in to date.
Shoham and Weinryb are veteran venture capitalists. Until recently, Shoham was a partner at Genesis Partners and Weinryb was a principle at Pitango Venture Capital.
Despite unflattering figures about the scale of operations by Israeli venture capital, outside the country, these are boom times for investment in high tech. While veteran Israeli firms are struggling to raise new funds and continue operations on the scale that they have been used to, the vacuum in Israeli capital is being seen as a great opportunity by foreign funds, especially funds seeking strategic exposure to Israeli start-up activity.
To achieve impressive returns on investment, it is necessary to reach the right companies. Intel Capital has had a number of successful investments in Israel, including Anobit, AeroScout Ltd., and Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX; TASE:MLNX), but no real bonanza that would give a 30-fold or higher return on the money and nine-digit amounts.
Given this reality, Shoham says, "We're ready to write big and small checks, and we'll do what it takes to win the good deals in Israel."
Intel Capital's intention, through these "good deals", is to show a willingness to invest larger amounts than in the past, and to take a much more aggressive approach with companies it is interested in. "We realize that we've missed a lot of opportunities here," says Battisti. "We were more aggressive elsewhere in the world in recent years, and we want to be the same here too."
This approach will be expressed by leading all the investments that Intel Capital will participate in, and by faster investment procedures.
Intel Capital invests in a range of fields, with an emphasis on financial returns, regardless of a connection with Intel Corporation. Intel Capital says that it intends to seek out investments in Internet applications, such as social networks, and in vehicles and energy, in addition to its previous investments in Israel in computing and communications infrastructures, mobile devices, and consumer digital products.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 25, 2012
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