Israel's First Digital Bank secures $120 million investments worldwide

FDB founder Prof. Amnon Shashua: "I firmly believe that AI technology can be the key to resolving the financial struggles faced by so many families worldwide."

 (L-R) Gal Bar Dea, Amnon Shashua and Shuki Oren (photo credit: YANAI YECHIEL, YONATAN HEFNER)
(L-R) Gal Bar Dea, Amnon Shashua and Shuki Oren
(photo credit: YANAI YECHIEL, YONATAN HEFNER)

The First Digital Bank (FDB), the first Israeli digital bank venture to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) has secured investments in the sum of $120 million from investment companies worldwide, FDB announced on Tuesday.

Established by Israeli businessman and founder and CEO of Mobileye Prof. Amnon Shashua, FDB received investments worth up to $120 million from investors such as Swiss management group Julius Baer, Japanese financial conglomerate SBI and Chinese-based tech company Tencent.

In addition, investments were also received from US private equity firm West Coast Equity Partners, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Provident FUnd and the venture capital arm of Singapore's Far East Organization, Far East Ventures.

The investments recorded were part of FDB's first round of investments. Prof. Shahsua initially invested $65 million as a seed investment.

While aiming to spearhead the autonomous banking transformation in Israel, FDB also puts an emphasis on English-speaking dual citizens of Israel, offering full services in English and the option to open an FDB bank account without having to go to a physical branch.

 New Israeli Shekel banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken November 9, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS) New Israeli Shekel banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken November 9, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)

"This vote of confidence in our vision by global technology and financial leaders, fuels our long-term strategic plans to transform the banking world, first in Israel and then globally," said Prof. Shashua.

"I firmly believe that AI technology, that is currently transforming significant parts of our lives, can be the key to resolving the financial struggles faced by so many families worldwide," he added.

FDB's CEO, Gal Bar Dea, said the digital bank's new investors will "enhance FDB’s resilience, enabling us to offer consumers a true alternative to the traditional banks in the market."

"are excited about the immense impact this could have on Israeli households and are looking forward to working with our new investors to reach additional markets."

FDB received its bank license from the Bank of Israel in 2019, making it the first new bank to be approved in Israel in over four decades.

The digital bank is currently in a pilot stage and is expected to launch to the Israeli public in early 2022 and expand into international markets in the future.