By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Israel’s leading start-ups and international corporate investors pitched each other, networked, and actively sought ways to support business and investment opportunities in a new platform held recently. The event was the first of its kind to focus exclusively on corporate investors in Israel.
WeiserMazars LLP and Mazars Group combined to be a Gold sponsor of the Axis Tel Aviv Corporate Edition which was held Monday, December 15, 2014 at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. WeiserMazars’ partner, Jules Reich, moderated a roundtable discussion focusing on corporate investing in Israeli start-ups and the panelists included Jeremy Lustman, DLA Piper; Mickey Rodeh, IBM; Eilat Cohen Basat, Kimberly-Clark; and Kevin Baxpehler, ProSiebenSat 1 Media AG.
Big4.com talked with Reich recently from Tel Aviv. He brings previous experience as head of
M&A, corporate finance and several other roles with him since joining WeiserMazars just a few months ago. He started our interview by talking about the impetus WeiserMazars used to get involved with the Axis Tel Aviv Corporate Edition.
“We’re around the world,” he said, “and in many of those areas we have corporate finance practices where I thought it was particularly important for our business to expand that line of service.”
He goes on to say the reputation of Israel as a very high tech country and the national interests in the field span a number of different areas.
“There’s a lot of money being pumped in, not only by the Israelis but from all over the world
at this point,” Reich said adding Israel fit in well with WeiserMazars’ desire to grow their technology practice and the audit, tax service and advisory as corollaries.
That’s where the new platform comes in as a flux for international corporate venture capitalists (VCs) generally and WeiserMazars specifically to find suitable matches with suitable Israeli start-ups. Although there is typically one major conference a year, a second was added to focus on these corporate VCs. Reich points out the attendees carried some impressive weight in the legions of big business.
“There were about 25 major corporate VCs and they included Microsoft, Oracle, Ford and MasterCard. Each one of these firms wants to be ahead of the curve in terms of what’s coming next as far as new thinking goes in the tech area.”
He went on to say the conference also offered important insights as to where the technology was heading with the start-ups.
“Again, we wanted to start building out our technology presence and starting from the ground up is a great place to begin because we get to see which direction things are taking,” he said.