New York-based venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners is setting up shop in Tel Aviv, Israel, marking its first office outside of the United States.
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Since its inception in 1995, Insight Partners says it has put more than $700 million into Israeli companies. It currently has 15 active investments in the country. Portfolio companies include app developer Lightricks, application security solution Checkmarx, management software startup Monday.com (which we covered here), and digital adoption platform WalkMe.
One of its success stories in the region lies in Wix, which has developed a popular cloud-based web development platform. Insight Partners co-led its $40 million Series D in 2011 and says it “supported” the company “through to IPO.”
Insight Partners Senior Associate Daniel Aronovitz has relocated to Tel Aviv from New York with his family to head up the office.
I was curious if the opening was an intentional move by the firm to expand outside the United States. But Teddie Wardi, a managing director of Insight Partners, told me that the decision stemmed from the growing tech hub’s appeal.
“We didn’t really approach this from the perspective of wanting to open an office somewhere,” Wardi said, calling the decision a “big deal.” “It was driven by the fact that we’ve been investing in Israel for quite a while. There’s been a rapid ramp up in pace in the last few years, and we’re seeing tremendous opportunity in the market.”
By being on the ground there, it’s Insight’s goal to be better able to support its portfolio companies, and also get exposed to other opportunities “at an earlier stage” than it would have been able to otherwise, according to Wardi.
With over $20 billion under management, Insight Partners is focused primarily on software investments, mainly B2B software in its different forms. Through its Onsite operation group, it aims to support its portfolio companies with sales and marketing, customer success and talent recruitment efforts.
Insight intends to not compete with local VCs but instead plans to “double down” on working with earlier-stage funds in the region, Wardi said.
I was also curious if having a presence in the region meant that Insight would be looking to invest in the Middle East as a whole. Wardi said the office would “strictly” be focused on Israel.
In September 2018, our own Joanna Glasner took a look at the country’s startup scene. In August, Natasha Mascarenhas covered how F2 Capital was raising a $75 million fund to invest in Israel-based startups.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias