Former CIA director invests in Israeli startup Windward

Ami Daniel and Matan Peled

"Start-Up Nation" coauthor Dan Senor has also invested in the maritime data and analytics company.

Israel maritime data and analytics company Windward today announced that two new investors in the company had been recruited: former CIA director David Petraeus and Dan Senor, coauthor with Saul Singer of "Startup Nation," a book about the development of startups in Israel. The company did not divulge how much the two invested. Previous investors in Windward included the Aleph fund, Li Ka-shing through Horizon Ventures, and others.

Windward, which is currently celebrating its fifth birthday, gathers and analyzes data based on marine traffic around the world. Its customers include intelligence, security, and financial agencies.

Windward announced several months ago the recruitment of another investor former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who is a consultant for the company. Windward has raised $17.3 million since it was founded in 2010 by CEO Ami Daniel and VP product Matan Peled.

In a "Globes" interview, Senor explained that he had invested in Windward because it was a special case among startups in Israel.

He said, "I have been analyzing and writing about the incredible innovation and entrepreneurs coming out of Israel for over a decade. Windward is exceptional. The company has taken on a global challenge of massive proportions - bringing visibility to ship activity worldwide - with real ramifications for any sector that intersects with the maritime domain .Already, the company is working with security and intelligence agencies around the world and it is now starting to bring its data and analytics to the financial news, macro analysis, and investment management sectors. I think the visibility Windward is bringing to the maritime domain is something that will truly move the needle globally across many industries."

"Globes": What do you think today about Israel as a startup nation?

Senor said, "It’s as strong as ever. Just look at the recently released Startup Ecosystem Report, published by Compass, the international authority in startup data benchmarking. Compass scoured and surveyed innovation economies from around the globe and after the US - ranked Tel Aviv as number one. And Jerusalem also made it in the report as one of the rising hubs. Israel’s startup nation community is growing, with now over 700 new start-ups launching on average each year. There are billions of dollars in capital raised to fund Israeli start-ups, and - over the past couple years - multiples of that in M&A exits and IPOs.

Senor believes that a lot has changed since he wrote Startup Nation in 2009. "For one, the track record of Israeli entrepreneurs in developing and selling consumer applications was unproven. Since then, however, Waze - the quintessential consumer application - has become indispensable to just about anybody driving anywhere in the world. It’s expanding the lens through which global innovation and capital markets view the reach of Israeli high-tech. It didn’t hurt, of course, that Waze was sold to Google for over a billion dollars. Also, Israeli entrepreneurs are now world leaders in sectors that weren’t even on our radar screen when we first wrote. For example, visualization technology and the extraordinary success of MobilEye. Or take big data analytics, as another example, which was also not a major focus of Start-Up Nation. Today it’s a huge growth sector everywhere, and it’s a natural fit for Israel’s expertise and dynamism in data sciences. That’s why you have a company like Windward coming out of Israel."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 9, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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Ami Daniel and Matan Peled
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