Chemi Peres, founding partner at venture capital firm Pitango, continues to try to lead local entrepreneurship beyond the world of Israeli technology start-ups. Peres, who is chairman of the Peres Center for Peace and the son of former president Shimon Peres, has set up an investment fund called Amelia, for investing in ventures connected to the Middle East. Peres and his partners Jonathan Kolber (a general partner in the Viola fund) and Assaf Shariv (formerly media adviser to prime ministers Ehud Olmert and the late Ariel Sharon) have so far raised $15 million from private investors, and intend to raise $50 million altogether by the end of 2015.
The fund, which started operating under the radar a few months ago, has already made two investments. The first is in a company called Demeter, which engages in agricultural, energy and water ventures. The second investment is in Takwin Labs, a Haifa-based technology incubator for Israel's Arab population, of which Peres himself was one of the founders, alongside MK Erel Margalit and businessman Imad Telhami. The Amelia fund participated in the $4.5 million investment round that the incubator announced two weeks ago.
The fund is somewhat different from Peres's better known activity as managing general partner at Pitango, and has no intention at present of investing in technology start-ups, but it deepens Peres's ties with ventures in Israel's Arab sector and furthers his aim of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the Middle East.
Any profit made by the Amelia fund from exits or in any other way will be donated to the Peres Center for Peace, of which, as mentioned, Chemi Peres is chairman.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 6, 2014
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014