Canadian venture capital firm Awz has launched Awz X-Seed in partnership with MAFAT - the Israeli Ministry of Defense's Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) and other Israeli security agencies to invest in "pre-seed" and "inception" stage companies developing innovative security technologies with significant commercial applications in the civilian sector.
Awz X-Seed has raised more than US $75 million, well over its target of $50 million, for the investments. Ten investment opportunities in cloud security, quantum, aerospace, deep tech, robotics, artificial intelligence, and cyber security have already been identified. Every 18 months, Awz Ventures will raise a further $75 million to invest in its next cohort of 15 companies, which will be based in the Tel Aviv accelerator hub.
Awz is headed by founder and managing partner Yaron Ashkenazi while former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper serves as president of the Advisory Committee.
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. This strategy will also allow Awz X-Seed to support its portfolio companies in accelerating their commercialization and technology development to reach series A at a higher valuation.
Awz X-Seed will initially invest an average of $3 million - $5 million in each portfolio company. The best performing companies will be considered for follow-on investment rounds by Awz Ventures' growth-stage funds, together with third-party investors.
Ashkenazi said, "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. We will address these needs and gaps in the marketplace both by investing in existing companies and by creating companies together from scratch."
Awz X-Seed will be led by Ashkenazi, and Daniel Mak, a Canadian high-tech investor and Awz Ventures General Partner, alongside two Israel-based General Partners: Roni Alsheich, former Deputy Director of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), and Sharon Gal, former Head of Technology Innovation at the Israel Prime Minister's Office.
Awz Ventures was founded in Canada in 2016 by Ashkenazi, a former officer in Israel's Shin Bet, and Chairman Edward Sonshine, Founder and Chairman of one of Canada's largest real estate investment trusts, RioCan REIT.
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.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 12, 2021
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