Leading Nordic venture capital firms are seeking to join the club of foreigners looking for co-investments in the Israeli venture capital market.
During their first visit to Israel, the Nordic Venture Network delegation, represented by nine venture capital firms of the Nordic region, met on Monday in one-on-one meetings with 25 Israeli venture capital and technology firms.
"We came here with the purpose of forging relationships with Israeli venture capital firms. Face-to-face meetings are the best way of making business," said Einar Lindquist, senior advisor at Eqvitec Partners Oy, a Norwegian privately owned and independent venture capital firm with â‚¬300 million under management in four funds that are invested in early and growth stage technology-intensive companies.
The NVN established in 1999, is a private club of the 12 leading technology venture capital firms in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. The members, which make up about 80% of the Nordic venture tech market, have between them over â‚¬2.5b. under management, 250 portfolio companies and 100 investment professionals.
"We see opportunities for co-investment and cooperation in Israel, maybe not tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow," said Johan Hernmarck, chairman of the Swedish Private Equity & Venture Capital Association and a NVN founding member.
Capital raised by Israeli hi-tech companies reached $1.34 billion in 2005 of which 50% was raised from foreign venture investors, representing the main growth engine of foreign capital inflow.
"We want to learn from Israel's success story starting from how funds operate in Israel, how they cooperate with the government and large multinational companies to the transatlantic exit model leading to success stories on Nasdaq and more recently AIM", said Heikki Ojanper , Director of SITRA, the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development.
The arrival of the delegation comes after Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen apologized for publicly backing a consumer boycott of Israel. In December, the municipality of Soer-Trondelag in central Norway voted in favor of a boycott of Israeli goods and services because of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.
The Israel Venture Association, which hosted the venture capital conference at the Tel Aviv Sheraton Hotel was optimistic about the visit.
"We expect that the visit by the NVN will lead to co-investments and joint ventures with the Israeli technology community," said Yoram Oron, chairman of the IVA.
Oron, founder and managing partner of Vertex Venture Capital, said delegations from Japan and Canada were also expected to arrive to Israel this year. Until very recently, he noted, the political situation, had deterred foreign delegations from coming to the country.