AltaIR Capital raises $30m for Israel investment

Igor Ryabenkiy

The fund, led by managing partner Igor Ryabenkiy, has already invested in 13 Israeli high-tech companies.

Venture capital fund AltaIR Capital, led by managing partner Igor Ryabenkiy, is raising $30 million for investment in Israeli high tech, sources inform "Globes." The fund invests in young companies in the early stages all over the world.

Sources close to the fund assert that it has made 80 investments to date throughout the world, including more than 13 investments in Israel. "We deal in startup investment management," Ryabenkiy told "Globes." We have already been active for many years, and we have recently focused on Russia, the US, and Europe. We recently decided to invest in the Israeli ecosystem, and our fund is on the verge of closing a financing round."

"Globes": "Which technologies interest you?

Ryabenkiy: "We're not focusing on specific technologies, but on interesting technologies and products in general. Elsewhere, we're investing in social networking and telecommunications, for example. We're looking for investments in education, financial technology, and cyberspace, for example, and we're planning to invest in more than 50 Israeli companies."

AltaIR invested in three local companies in 2013, and added another 10 companies to its portfolio in 2014. Its investments total $4 million, since the companies involved are early stage, and investments in them are relatively limited, amounting to several hundred thousand dollars. "Sometimes, we meet interesting companies in later stages," Ryabenkiy says, "and invest more money in them, together with our partners. We have seed investments in which we're the first investor in a company, and we also have the ability to organize investments at later stages. Our goal is to spot companies that are just beginning, and help them become global."

Are you planning to move to Israel to manage the investments here?

"I've already been living here for more than a year."

Joint investment with Yandex

Ryabenkiy, 50, a native of what was then the Soviet Union, was selected as Angel of the Year by the National Association of Business Angels in Russia. His first investment in Israel was in Gbooking, in which Yandex also invested. The company, which is active in electronic commerce, developed a search and comparison platform for Internet services. Although Ryabenkiy is a relatively new player in Israel, he has 20 years of experience in high tech.

"Even though I'm new here, I'm a veteran in investments at early stages. There aren't many entities in Israel focusing on young companies. We're new here, but we're very active."

Are you meeting with local venture capital funds?

"Yes, we've met here with several funds, we're also working with angels, and we want to do more in the sector." AltaIR's local portfolio also includes KeepGo, which makes it possible to save money on overseas cellular services; RoutePerfect, which helps plan tour routes; and CancelOn, which enables private individuals who have reserved a hotel room and wish to cancel their reservation to sell it to someone else. Ryabenkiy adds, "Israel has a startup industry on a very high level, and there are a great many interesting and mature projects, even ones at an early stage. Our experience and willingness to invest time and effort in intensive work have generated excellent opportunities for AltaIR to be part of the ecosystem and attract projects and cooperation. We usually take a very active part in developing the ventures we invest in, including dealing with the technological, marketing, and business challenges frequently experienced by companies just starting out. We cooperate with the market players and operate with both angels' organizations and venture capital funds. Frequently, the fund's widespread connections with investors all over the world enable it to bring investments to Israeli companies from foreign investors who have not previously operated in the local market."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 20, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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