Former NBA star launches $50m Israel VC fund
Former Israeli NBA star Omri Casspi has launched a new $50 million venture capital fund called Sheva to invest in early stage startups. The fund is co-founded with David Citron, a veteran early stage venture capital investor, who most recently was Global Founders Capital’s partner leading the European firm’s activities in the Israel ecosystem.
Influenced by basketball stars he played alongside in the NBA who invested in tech companies, on retirement and returning to Israel Casspi intensified his activity in the early stage tech scene, and has built a portfolio of over a dozen companies in the past few years.
In Casspi’s efforts to get more involved in the venture capital ecosystem, he met David Citron, who said, “Omri initially reached out to me on LinkedIn. I’ve always been a fan of the game of basketball, and grew up watching Omri represent Israel. But, a connection request from someone like Casspi seemed like a phishing attempt. We hit it off immediately, and started co-investing in a number of early stage startups. Our chemistry was so good, that it got to a point that our joint portfolio companies suggested we team up on our weekly calls. We were already thinking about the viability of starting a fund, but hearing this message from founders more than once gave us a real indication of product-market fit, so we decided to go all in and launch Sheva”
Sheva focuses on pre-seed and seed stage, as well as opportunistic series A investments. The fund intends to invest in 20 companies, between $1 million – $2 million each. The firm began operating at the start of this year, and has already made investments in fintech, cybersecurity and web3 ventures. Among the fund’s investors are institutional investors, family offices, tech entrepreneurs and highly active crossover funds that have been investing heavily in global.
Casspi said, “I’ve always been the hardest worker; first one at the gym, last one to leave. I believe that the same level of energy is what’s required of an early stage founder, and I’m eager to bring my hustle and robust network that I was fortunate enough to build over my career to provide real differentiated value to our founders. David and I have very little overlap in the value that we bring to our portfolio, which we believe is a significant force multiplier. This combined with our fantastic community of LPs who include celebrities, influences, unicorn founders, angel investors and successful GPs is what we believe to be a winning formula for true value add.”
Citron added, “We’re combining two successful VC models that have been battle tested around the world; the celebrity and veteran VC pairing, and an early stage investment model that focuses on investing in as many companies as possible at the early stage, and then doubling down on the emerging winners together with the LPs. We believe LPs should be far more involved in the investment lifecycle of the portfolio, and our investors are very eager to participate in direct investment opportunities together with us.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on May 2, 2022.
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