JVP launches New York cyber center, advances global ambitions

Leading Israeli venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) inaugurated the International Cyber Center of New York on Monday evening, seeking to replicate its domestic innovation.

Jerusalem Venture Partners founder and executive chairman Dr. Erel Margalit (center) and executives outside the firm's International NYC Cyber Center.  (photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN)
Jerusalem Venture Partners founder and executive chairman Dr. Erel Margalit (center) and executives outside the firm's International NYC Cyber Center.
(photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN)
NEW YORK – Leading Israeli venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) inaugurated the International NYC Cyber Center in the SoHo neighborhood of New York on Monday evening, seeking to replicate its domestic cybersecurity innovation success in the world’s financial capital.
The center for cybersecurity start-ups, established in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), aims to transform the city into the global capital of cyber innovation. The hub is already home to 28 promising start-ups, with half of the companies established in Israel.
Founded and chaired by Israeli businessman Dr. Erel Margalit in 1993, JVP manages funds worth $1.4 billion, has established more than 140 companies and completed 35 exits to date – including 12 Nasdaq IPOs totaling more than $20b.
The 2,450 sq. m. center on Grand Street will provide a Manhattan base for prominent start-ups from across the world seeking to scale internationally and connect them with key stakeholders in the cybersecurity ecosystem, ranging from investors to multinational companies and academia.
The initiative forms part of NYCEDC’s Cyber NYC program, which seeks to make New York City a global leader in cybersecurity and produce 10,000 jobs within five years. The initiative is fueled by an initial investment of $30 million from the City of New York followed by an additional investment of up to $70m. from private funding.
Joining the initiative are local academic institutions including Columbia University, New York University, Cornell University and City University of New York.
“We took an ecosystem approach, just as we do in the Galilee and Beersheba, with the idea that if New York wants to give Silicon Valley a run for its money, it needs to partner with Israel in a big way,” Margalit told The Jerusalem Post. “It’s true that the Silicon Valley will probably always be the tech center of the United States, but New York has the chance to become the international technology center. Israel is a very important ingredient in that.”
Senior public and private officials from New York attended the inaugural event, which also starred an on-stage conversation with American actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow. The Academy Award winner expressed her desire to visit Israel and its innovation ecosystem in the near future.
Gwyneth Paltrow with JVP founder and executive chairman Erel Margalit (Credit: Shahar Azran)Gwyneth Paltrow with JVP founder and executive chairman Erel Margalit (Credit: Shahar Azran)
While Israeli start-ups have traditionally excelled in core horizontal technologies, ranging from cybersecurity to artificial intelligence and semiconductors, Margalit emphasized that the “drama today” is about the intersection of such technologies with vertical markets that are reinventing themselves. Traditional banking services, for example, “need a lot more technologies to be trustworthy.”
Ambitious and fast-growing Israeli companies already present in the center include Thetaray, Centrical, Coronet and Quali. In the coming years, JVP and New York City authorities aim to catalyze the formation of a series of unicorns – start-ups reaching or exceeding a $1b. market valuation – from the center, harnessing partnerships with nearby businesses and municipal infrastructure.
“You need to be hungry if you want to be the leading hub in the world. You need to be able to take universities, change their modes of operation and ensure that they’re not introverts. Come out to the streets and cooperate with others,” said Margalit. “Cities need to open up. We are looking at how do we have a wave of start-ups on the streets of New York, in addition to the large players.”
The inauguration event also featured the launch of JVP’s Margalit Startup City brand, a new initiative by the Jerusalem-based firm to establish international innovation centers and create thousands of job opportunities worldwide. The firm has already been approached by authorities from several European capital cities, Margalit said, all interested in establishing similar ecosystem initiatives.
“Our vision to transform the city into the cyber capital of the world, combined with JVP’s experience in driving change through innovation, creates a formidable partnership that gives rise to the next wave of cybersecurity startup success stories,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett.
“The opening of the new Cyber Center will link global cities and companies with New York City’s thriving cyber ecosystem and promises to create good jobs and innovative solutions in this booming field.”