Alibaba makes strategic investment in Israeli venture capital fund

The deal is a boost of confidence to Israel's venture capital scene.

March 23, 2015 16:46
1 minute read.

Alibaba. (photo credit: PR)

Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company, has made a strategic investment in Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) worth tens of millions of dollars. The investment was reportedly Alibaba’s first into a venture fund.

Kobi Rozengarten, a managing partner at JVP, told an annual meeting on Monday that Alibaba had become “a strategic partner and investor in JVP.”

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A delegation of some 20 Alibaba representatives is in Israel this week for both the meeting and to attend the second annual cyber-security conference in Tel Aviv.

JVP has made major investments in the cyber-security sector and is an active investor in the Cyberspark industrial park in Beersheba.

The deal, a boost of confidence in Israel’s venture-capital scene, follows Alibaba’s January investment into Visalead. The company makes attractive versions of QR codes, the smartphone equivalent of bar codes that can be scanned with smartphones to open links.

Alibaba, with a market capitalization of over $210 billion, had the largest initial public offering in history last September.

JVP, which is managed by Rozengarten, Gadi Tirosh and Raffi Kesten, has realized several successful investments in cyber security, including the initial public offering on Nasdaq last year of CyberArk Software.

This month, online-payments company PayPal, a unit of eBay, bought cyber-security start-up CyActive, in which JVP invested.

JVP has had other notable successes, including early support and investments for XtremIO, which was sold to EMC in 2012 for close to $500b.

JVP, which has roughly $1b. in assets under its management, was founded by Erel Margalit, who has since gone into politics with the Labor Party and will be sworn in for his second term on the Zionist Union list.

Reuters contributed to this report

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