Doron Arbely, former head of the Israel Tax Authority and former director general of the Israel Postal Bank has joined ToGeTher, the equity based crowdfunding platform. ToGeTher, which offers the public investments in a range of ventures, mostly in the high-tech sector, has launched its operations in recent days after being granted a license by the Israel Securities Authority.
Arbely, one of Israel's most senior tax consultants, will join ToGeTher's advisory board, which already includes well-known names in the coutry's business world, among them Major-General (reserves) Uzi Moskovitz former Head of the IDF Communications Branch; (Dr.) Nimrod Kozlovski and Adv. Efrat Tzur who will support the company on behalf of the Herzog Fox Neeman law firm; Iris Stark CPA, a member of the government committee on senior appointments and a former chairperson of Ashdod Port; Prof. Ehud Raanani, Director of Cardiac Surgery at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer; and Doron Liebstein, Former Senior Vice President Microsoft Europe.
Another consultant to the new platform is Adv. Ran Dimant, a senior partner at the Katzenell Dimant law firm, who specializes, among other practice areas, in crowdfunding, and thus participated in formulating the protocol for crowdfunding.
Arbely served as director of the Israel Tax Authority from 2011-2013 after working in the Tax Authority for 26 years. Among other things, over the years, he served in a range of senior positions in customs and excise including as an investigator in the Customs and VAT Department (today the Investigations division), Head of the Investigations Unit, Head of the Intelligence Unit, Deputy Head of the Unit, Customs representative in Brussels, Head of the Department, Senior Director General for Investigations and Intelligence, and finally Head of the Customs Administration, the job to which he returned after heading the Tax Authority. In November 2013, Arbely resigned as head of the Tax Authority and began a one year "cooling off" period.
After that year, Arbely was appointed Director General of the Postal Bank and after just 18 months, he announced that he was stepping down due to foot-dragging in separating the Postal Bank from the Postal Company and making it into a real bank.
Arbely currently serves as a senior tax consultant and is also active in the startups sector and consequently has entered the crowdfunding arena with ToGether, which is just beginning operations after receiving its license from the Israel Securities Authority. The license awarded to ToGeTher is based on regulations that were approved by the Israel Securities Authority in March last year and which permits supervised financing platforms to offer investments in various ventures to the public at large for amounts that are not large, in exchange for shareholders equity. This is in contrast to investments offered by websites such as Headstart, Kickstarter and Indiegogo for this or that product in exchange for the investment.
As part of his role at ToGeTher, Arbely together with other members of the advisory committee will meet with companies that are interested in raising funds via the platform and within this framework check out their suitability for crowdfunding. In accordance with the rules of the Israel Securities Authority, every venture will have to present to the public basic data about the company, its activities, the staff working for it etc. Although the platform will not conduct due diligence on the ventures, its role will be "to filter out" ventures that are not suitable for raising funds and to indicate those that have potential. This is where the advisory board comes into the picture as a body that advises and recommends.
ToGeTher was founded by a group of entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the high-tech, financial and marketing sectors. Shuki Cohen Sharet CPA, one of the company's founders and the Chairman of the Board, is an expert in the field of finance and high-tech and even participated in formulating the protocol for crowdfunding. Previously, Cohen Sharet managed the technological incubators group Maayan Ventures, which handled high-tech investments. Elad Shemesh who serves as CEO is also an expert in strategy and finance in the investment sector who in recent years has supported a long list of raising capital financing rounds for ventures in Israel and abroad. Liran Peleg, a director and founder of the company, manages Best-Trader, a leading company in marketing capital market trading services; and Lior Elkan, a senior technology investments manager, formerly with Glilot Capital Partners. Alon Ostrovichky serves as Marketing and Business Development Manager, and in his previous position managed a capital raising operation in innovation and real estate in Europe.
Arbely explains that he decided to join ToGeTher, among other things, due to the fact that ToGeTher meets three of the most important aspects of any investment; "A good idea, a good team and a good market." He says that he is himself a partner in several startups and therefore, 'Knows the bumpy path that entrepreneurs must take until acquiring the confidence of investors and until he understands the venture. It's not simple. Therefore, I think that the concept of crowdfunding investments makes a lot of sense. It's the best way to help the venture to realize its potential. I'm looking at it not only from the point of view of the company but also the investor. When you hear about exits, even medium-sized ones, and ordinary people say 'why didn't I know and why wasn't I part of it?' then now they have an opportunity to take part in that same idea and dream."
On the opportunities and the risks that are now opening up to the public, Arbely added, "If a few years ago everybody was offered to give their opinion and be part of Waze within the crowdfunding investment format, would they have been prepared to take a risk? Probably yes and that's what it's all about."
Arbely's tip is to identify wise investments because 'not every venture is suitable for crowdfunding investments but it is the best way to raise money today. It's a win-win situation for all sides. The investment by definition relies on a good idea, a good team and a good market. I think that ToGeTher's platform not only checks out these parameters but also responds to them itself in the idea that it promotes, the way in which it does this, and the companies that raise money and that are in a very particular stage."
"Entrepreneurs can come up with a very good idea but do not necessarily know how to take it forward or the way ahead, or they do know the way but but have difficulty in getting there - both on the professional level, and from the management and financial point of view," Arbely said and added, "Every venture that will meet the platform's requirements and begin raising funds from the public will gain twice - in the first place it will get financing for which it needs the confidence of the public, and in the second place it will get mentoring and support from a team of professionals."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 8, 2018
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