Nearly two years after it was founded, the Remagine Ventures fund, founded by managing partners Eze Vidra and Kevin Baxpehler and partner Michael Lewkowicz, has announced completion of a $35 million startup investment fund. According to the announcement by Remagine Ventures, which invests in entertainment and media startups, the sum was raised from large entertainment corporations, such as British company Sky, acquired by Comcast, which invested $4 million in the fund a year ago; European companies Axel Springer and ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE; Japanese company Adways; FutureTV Group; and US company Liontree.
The fund focuses on early-stage investments in entertainment companies, but also invests in ecommerce, sports, online commercial platforms, and data companies. The fund's investments range from $500,000 to $2 million, and the fund is designed for investment in 10-15 companies. The fund ensures its portfolio companies direct access to the entertainment giants that invest in it.
Remagine Ventures was founded in 2017. Vidra and Baxpehler have known each other for 16 years, since they met in a Zell program. The fund, which is located in London and Tel Aviv, invests in startups in both locations.
The three founders have experience as either investors or serial entrepreneurs. Vidra headed Google Ventures, while Baxpehler led investments in Dynamic Yield, sold to MacDonald's, and Magisto, sold to video giant Vimeo in its role as the investment arm of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE in Israel. The fund's chairman is Thomas Ebeling, who was CEO of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE for a decade.
According to documents submitted to US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when the fund was founded, its goal is to raise up to $40 million, but it eventually announced the closing of the fund at $35 million two years after it was founded. "It wasn't easy raising money, and I think that anyone who raises money for a first fund will say the same thing. It's no simple matter, but we're very satisfied," Baxpehler told "Globes."
"Our model is a little different. We regard the fund as a multicorporate fund because of all of the things that the fund is capable of doing for companies. We went and recruited a large number of companies with billions, and we convinced them that this is a field that they should invest in, and that Israel is a market in which they should have a presence. We had to teach people what we're doing and how we see the world," Vidra adds.
"When people think about Israel and startups, they don't think about anything to do with entertainment, but this is very strong in Israel. We founded the fund on a special model: our investors are the biggest entertainment companies in Europe and the world, and before we invest in a company, we can understand the problem from the market in real time. After we invest in companies, we're capable of providing very strategic value," Vidra declares. "We present a different and innovative approach as a venture capital fund that is more similar to a corporate investment arm. We make investments independently for a financial return, but we're capable of providing very concrete value. $35 million for the first fund isn't bad, and we can do a lot with it."
The fund began investing in companies from the first day, and according to its website, has invested in six Israeli companies to date, most of them companies with deep technology, such as Minute Media, one of the world's largest sport content producers; Syte.ai, a solution for online fashion products purchases; Novos, a platform for training computer games players; artificial intelligence company HourOne, which operates in the deepfake sector; Vault-ai, which predicts the likelihood that movie and television scripts will be successful; and Madskil, a social platform for real-time gambling by former employees of 999 and Playtika.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 15, 2019
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