A new venture capital firm backed by Randi Zuckerberg, founder of Zuckerberg Media and sibling of Mark Zuckerberg, is raising a $35 million fund to invest in Israeli startups aiming to disrupt the media, entertainment, sports, and commerce industries.
The new firm called Sababa Ventures, was co-founded by Jared Kash, a tech entrepreneur and investor, and Yaron Kniajer, also a tech investor with a background in investment banking, who both serve as managing partners. They are joined by Zuckerberg, who will serve as a general partner and will “leverage her insider expertise,” according to a company statement, to “work directly with portfolio companies to help scale their ventures.” Robert Friedman, a former senior executive at Time Warner and New Line Cinema who currently serves as CEO of Bungalow Media, joins Sababa Ventures as a venture partner.
The fund’s first investment is in IMGN Media, a Tel Aviv-based startup with offices in New York that developed an AI-powered technology platform that enables social content publishing at scale. The amount invested was not disclosed.
Sababa Ventures said that with an expanding $2 trillion media and entertainment industry that demands innovation to fuel growth, “the global appetite for Israel-based technologies continues to surge,” pointing to recent acquisitions of Israeli startups by massive global companies such as Facebook (which bought Redkix), Walmart (acquired Aspectiva), McDonald’s (bought Dynamic Yield and Apprente) and other deals.
“We formed Sababa Ventures to build a bridge between Israeli innovators and the American market,” said Zuckerberg in a statement. “Similar to Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv is a unique source for technology innovation. Harnessing Israeli ingenuity will be key to shaping the entire media landscape on a global scale.”
Sababa Ventures has offices in Tel Aviv, New York, and Los Angeles and says these locations position the firm “to bring these ecosystems together for the mutual benefit of Israeli entrepreneurs, investors, and the global market.”
Kash indicated that “by combining Israeli know-how with globally recognized industry leaders, we have positioned Sababa Ventures to become the ‘go-to’ VC in media, entertainment, sports, and commerce.”
“We are bringing unparalleled access and connections to serve the portfolio, and are creating an innovative venture firm that will be associated with working side-by-side with the most promising startups coming out of Israel,” he added.
Kniajer, a former partner at Rhodium, an early-stage fund with investments in Outbrain and Yotpo, for example, said: “Israeli entrepreneurs are disrupting all business sectors, and targeting value-add capital. There is a unique opportunity within our focus on media and entertainment. Our investors bring strong industry experience, which will help our startups to build and scale their technologies globally.”