TAU Ventures, the investment arm of Tel Aviv University (TAU), announced on Monday that it has raised a second fund of $50 million to invest in startups, with the opportunity to grow the fund to $70 million.
The VC fund, which invests in early-stage startups, intends to invest in 15 to 25 companies founded by Israeli entrepreneurs, giving up to $1 million per startup as a first investment.
All investors from the previous fund have reinvested in the current fund. Both funds were led by Chartered Group, which brings together many leading entities from the Japanese industry, plus new investors, including Family Offices in the US, Canada, and Europe.
The firm said it emphasizes creating value for entrepreneurs with various university resources. The second fund focuses on backing strong teams of entrepreneurs across a wide range of sectors, understanding that at an early stage the product is expected to change.
TAU Ventures, founded by managing partner Nimrod Cohen and TAU, had its first fund of $20 million established in 2018. The fund made 18 investments in startups including in SWIMM, Gaviti, MyAir, Castor, and more.
“We are in a period where a lot of money is circulating in the market. However, this can be misleading as there is still a shortage of investors in the early stages in Israel. More investors are operating in A or post-seed stages. They do not talk to entrepreneurs in the initial stages and rather want to see a product that has already reached the market. We are covering this critical stage enabling new companies to emerge,” said Cohen.
“As part of Tel Aviv University’s strategic plan, we have made it a central goal to strengthen ties with industry here as well as promoting an international and multidisciplinary campus. TAU Ventures provides entrepreneurs a platform with significant opportunities in innovation and making academic progress beyond the campus boundaries. It enables students to integrate practical experience with leading startups during their studies, and at the same time, it enables entrepreneurs to enjoy the diverse qualities of the campus,” said Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University.