SoftBank to open venture capital firm in Israel headed by former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen

SoftBank, the Japanese company that manages the world’s largest venture capital fund, is preparing to open an office in Israel to be headed by former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, according to reports in the Hebrew press.

Softbank’s Vision Fund has over $ 100 billion in committed capital and has supported global powers such as Alibaba, TikTok and Uber. The multinational conglomerate has just enjoyed one of the most successful years in global business history after reporting a net profit of $ 45.88 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31.

The entry of such a powerful investor into the Israeli market is expected to accelerate activity in a scorching Israeli tech environment that is already experiencing unprecedented hypergrowth. Israeli tech companies have already raised some $ 12 billion in the first six months of the year, down from its previous record of $ 10.5 billion for all of 2020.

SoftBank typically invests as much as $ 50 million in promising late-stage companies, and there is no shortage of promising candidates in Israel.

The company has already invested in numerous Israeli companies, including facial recognition company AnyVision, which said it raised $ 235 million last week. SoftBank also owns stakes in retail analytics firm Trax Image Recognition and database software firm Redis Labs, which raised a total of $ 950 million in early April.

Facial recognition is currently used to cross borders and even enter hospitals. To ensure AI systems are unbiased, AnyVision researcher Dr Eduard Vazquez told The Post, you need to have great data. (Photo credit: courtesy)

Cohen has no business background, but his success as head of Israel’s National Intelligence Agency has made him a well-respected and well-connected figure in Israel. One of the architects of Israel’s recent normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, he will likely find it easy to act as an intermediary between Israeli companies and SoftBank’s investment team.

“SoftBank has pioneered a new approach to technology investing and created the world’s largest ecosystem of emerging technology champions,” Cohen told the Globes financial daily. “Israel’s cutting-edge technology and entrepreneurial culture make it a natural fit for SoftBank’s investment vision, and I look forward to helping rapidly evolving businesses grow in the region and around the world. “

Cohen, 59, has been nicknamed “the model” for his good looks, and he has maintained a surprisingly high public profile for the head of an organization shrouded in secrecy. He resigned as head of Mossad on June 1 after five years in office and was presented as a future candidate for prime minister.

Large foreign investment funds have flocked to Israel in recent years, and the trend has intensified. In April, Blackstone, one of the world’s largest investment firms with $ 649 billion in assets under management, announced it was opening an office in Israel, headed by former LeumiTech CEO Yifat Oron. . SoftBank’s entry into the market adds another mark of strength.

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