Gideon Tolkowsky and his partner Yadin Kaufmann are the “elders of the Israeli VC tribe”. Tolkowsky was one of the founders of the Athena fund, the first of Israel’s VC funds, which Kaufmann joined two years later.
Both Athena and Veritas (which included two funds managed for corporations) racked up astounding successes by Israeli standards, such as Mercury, Gilat, and Class Data Systems, the first Israeli company sold to Cisco. Tolkowsky himself, who invested in all of these companies in the seed stage, was a member of the board of directors at Ubique, an Israeli Web-based company that was sold as early as 1995 to AOL. He also served as board chairman at M-Systems and Accord. At ESC Medical, Tolkowsky served as CEO.
Tolkowsky, the son of General Dan Tolkowsky (Ret.) and himself a pilot, today serves as chair of the board of directors of such companies as Florence Medical (which he also founded), Harmonia Medical Technologies, and UltraGuide. As is one can see from the names, Tolkowsky is particularly involved in companies engaged in medical equipment (he explains his interest in the field by way of his advancing age).
Currently Tolkowsky is leading Veritas in the transition from an incorporated fund (which managed funds for Anglo American Corp. of South Africa and for a large Japanese corporation) to a limited partnership of the well-known type. Tolkowsky was also among the founders of Tmurah, a non-profit that supports educational projects.
Published by Israel's Business Arena on September 16, 2001.