Monday, October 22, 2007

Ask the VC: Q&A with Gemini Israel Funds

Sagi Rubin is an associate at Gemini Israel Funds. I came across Sagi's blog, "The Grass is Greener on Our Side", and asked him to answer a few questions for VC Cafe. I hope you find the Israeli VC perspective an interesting one. For more Gemini VC Blogs check out Talia Aben's and Daniel Cohen's blog or his excellent recent post on VentureBeat.

As background, Gemini was founded in 1993 and has about $550M under management in four funds. It invests in approximately 35 tech companies in Communications & Wireless, Consumer Electronics, Enterprise Software, Internet and Semiconductors.

Gemini invests primarily in Israeli companies and entrepreneurs and its active portfolio includes, conteXtream, esnips, IXI mobile and more. Most recently, Gemini sold Triana, a seller of automated post-trade processing services to ICAP for $248M in cash + $9M in ICAP shares.

Question: What are you looking for in a prospective company?

We are looking for companies that can become global market leaders, with several hundreds of $M in revenues. This requires first and foremost, a world class management team and founders. In addition, a very large market opportunity, the ability to build a strong and sustainable competitive edge (many time technological), have a sound business model, and very importantly (many times neglected…) a real need for your solution.

Question: Is there an entrepreneur that you see as a role model? Why?

Over the last years Israel has seen a new generation of entrepreneurs, which have the potential to bring the Israeli tech industry to a new level. One example is Dov Moran (Founder and CEO of M-systems, sold to Sandisk). These entrepreneurs have led companies from inception through to multi billion $ valuations. Now they have decided to start it all again, with new startups they believe can become even bigger. Dov is a role model since he is definitely not in it “for the money”. He genuinely wants to make an impact, and is aiming to “change the world” through technology.

TIP: Talia Aben from Gemini posted a few hiring tips from Dov here. His main parameters are:
  1. IQ – Intellectual Abilities
  2. EQ – Emotional development
  3. AQ – Stamina
Question: What was your proudest moment as VC?

I think that my proudest moment is yet to come – when I achieve my first exit in a company I invest and work with throughout its lifetime… Being only 3 years in the industry, this has not yet arrived. Nonetheless, my proudest moments to date have been all those times where I was able to help entrepreneurs drive their companies ahead – such as introducing a portfolio company to their first client, helping bring a key team member on board, or even connecting an entrepreneur to an appropriate investor when we the company was out of our scope.
Question: What are the top services on the internet that you can't do without?

  • Netvibes – A great way to centralize my information
  • Animoto – I think this represents the new generation of media creation. And being able to compile a personal video clip for friends in seconds is a lot of fun.
  • Ning – This service enabled us to develop an Israeli network for Internet entrepreneurs, which has taken off with great success
  • And of course two Israeli companies we’ve invested in, eSnips and Supportspace

Labels: , , , ,