Israeli charity picks up $1.5m. from Waze exit

'Tmura' receives largest boost yet; The Israeli Public Service Venture Fund has raised nine million dollars over 11 years.

June 13, 2013 01:05
2 minute read.
Waze traffic software

Waze 521. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The founders of Israeli navigation start-up Waze are not the only winners in their firm’s recent exit acquisition by Internet giant Google for a reported $1.1 billion. Israeli charitable foundation Tmura benefited to the tune of $1.5 million as well.

Tmura – The Israeli Public Service Venture Fund was founded in 2002 to increase the involvement of the hi-tech community in nonprofit activity.

The organization, which was modeled after the Entrepreneurs Foundation that operates in California’s Silicon Valley, receives donations of equity from Israeli start-ups and Israel-related hi-tech companies during their early stages.

In the event of a successful exit, when early investors/employees sell their shares to a new owner, Tmura allocates the proceeds from the sale of its shares to education and youth-related NGOs in Israel.

“Tmura is a model that allows early-stage companies to give back to the community,” the organization’s executive director Baruch Lipner told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “It costs the companies nothing right now [to donate equity] and it could take years before an exit happens, but if and when it does, we get that part of the money.”

With Tuesday’s Waze/Google deal, Tmura has received its biggest infusion of funds yet.

“Everybody is very excited,” Lipner said. “This is a huge amount of money that will go into the third sector [the nongovernmental sector] and I think it proves the model, it proves what Tmura can be.

“It says on our site ‘Share a little upside with society,’ and that’s exactly what it is,” he added.

Including the Waze deal, Tmura has raised a total of $9m. in its 11 years of operation.

“These are amounts of money that are difficult to get people to write a check for, but when we do it this way, in the end nobody feels it, and beyond that, they are happy to know part of the money goes to a good cause,” Lipner told the Post.

Tmura funds NGOs including after-school programs, youth crisis centers, sports-related charities and organizations dedicated to children with disabilities.

To date, 289 companies are signed up to Tmura, which has benefited from 46 successful exits of its donor start-ups so far.

Tmura has gained exposure over the years and is now mainly approached by companies via word of mouth within the hitech industry in the country, Lipner said.

Sixteen companies have signed up with the initiative in the past two months.

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