US investment giant Blackstone announced this week that it was opening an office in Israel focused on growth and investments, to tap into the country’s thriving tech ecosystem. The Tel Aviv office will be headed by Yifat Oron, previously CEO of LeumiTech, who will serve as a senior managing director and lead investments for Blackstone Growth (BXG), the firm’s growth equity business.
Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, who has served as Blackstone’s senior advisor in Israel since 2013, will become chairman of Blackstone Israel and continue to serve as an advisor to the firm and the Israel-based team.
Blackstone operates 25 offices across the world, including three focused on growth equity in New York, San Francisco, and London. Tel Aviv will become the fourth BXG office and the 26th for Blackstone, respectively. Blackstone was co-founded in 1985 by American businessman and investor Stephen A. Schwarzman, who serves as CEO and chairman. The company’s $649 billion in assets under management include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, life sciences, growth equity, opportunistic, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds.
BXG, led by Jon Korngold, seeks to invest in fast-growing companies with proven business models and with the potential to become global market leaders in partnership with Blackstone. Its primary sector focuses include financial services, enterprise and consumer technologies, and healthcare.
BXG recently completed the final close of an oversubscribed, inaugural $4.5 billion growth equity fund, and has already made a number of significant investments including in online dating firm Bumble, oat milk company Oatly, and mental health company Ginger.
Schwarzman in a statement that the group is “increasingly focused on investing in fast-growing sectors, such as technology, life sciences, and the digital economy” and “Israel is one of the most promising markets in the world in these areas.”
Korngold, global head of Blackstone Growth, said: “We are big believers in Israel, which is one of the most dynamic and innovative markets in the world.”
Oron said she was “thrilled to join Blackstone and lead the firm’s growth investments in Israel. The breadth of what Blackstone can deliver to entrepreneurs in terms of capital and operating expertise is truly world-class.
“I’m excited to help fast-growing companies in Israel become global leaders through Blackstone’s resources and global network,” she added. Oron led LeumiTech, a subsidiary of Bank Leumi that serves high-tech companies, as CEO for seven years. She spent most of her career as a partner at Vertex Venture Capital and was previously a technology investment banking associate at JPMorgan Chase in New York.
“I look forward to working with Yifat, a deeply respected tech and finance leader, to scale our efforts and support the most promising companies, entrepreneurs and technological innovation in Israel,” said Gillerman.