Israeli companies seeking exposure in the North American market could this year begin targeting the Toronto Stock Exchange for raising capital, providing a potential alternative to the cumbersome and costly entry requirements of the US exchanges. "We are expecting to see the first initial public offering by an Israeli company in Canada over the next four-to-six months and a healthy amount of Israeli company listings over the next nine-to-12 months," said Raymond King, global senior manager of listings business development for the TSX during a week-long visit to Israel, which includes meetings with 12 Israeli companies and a number of VCs and private equity firms. "We are seeking high-quality, small- and medium-sized Israeli companies considering listing on the Nasdaq exchange to consider the TSX as a viable alternative, which provides them with low-cost and liquid trading and access to North American capital in light of the costly and more and more difficult entry qualifications of the US exchanges." The TSX Group touts itself as the second largest exchange in the world by the number of companies listed and the eighth largest in the world by total listed market capitalization of $1.8 trillion. The Canadian delegation including the investment dealer firm Research Capital and the law firm Gowlings, which has been following up previous meetings with private Israeli companies and local companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange with strong connections to the North American market in the technology, biotechnology and medical devices sectors. "Israeli companies are seeking to raise between $5 million and $55m. on the Canadian exchanges," said King. He added that the TSX also is positioned as an alternative to the AIM market in London, which has been a traditional destination for many Israeli companies seeking financing. "The thorough analyst coverage of companies on the TSX and the liquidity of the exchange are two major benefits for companies looking to list in Toronto, which set it apart from the AIM market," he noted. Meanwhile, Larry Jeremias, managing director of technology investment banking at Research Capital remarked that the hesitancy of Israeli companies to list on the Toronto exchange until now has stemmed from the dichotomy that some Israeli companies didn't want to be the first IPO but then again they also didn't want to be the second. As part of the visit, King met with the senior vice president of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Moshe Tery, chairman of the Israel Securities Authority. "We will be working on a memorandum of understanding with the TASE to forge a cooperation agreement between the two exchanges," said King.