"We want to minimize the risks"
Support that is worth its weight in gold; this is exactly what the Israeli incubator Gold Ventures Investments (GVI) offers. Since its inception in 2015, GVI has pursued the goal of identifying potential innovative solutions based on specific market needs and helping young companies establish their products and entities in the market.
Through their applied process and professionalism, GVI improves the conversion rate of startups to successfully raise capital and expand into global commercialization.
In an interview with 5-HT, Kobi Kalderon, CEO and founder, provides exciting insights into the beginnings as well as further development of the globally operating incubator.
Over five years of research in 32 countries
"Between 2010 and 2015 I held discussions with a wide variety of global companies to find out how best to support them in their startup phase," says Kobi Kalderon. "More specifically, I focused on working out fundraising phases as well as how to design the most barrier-free market entry possible. But how young companies can present themselves as attractively as possible to potential investors was also among my research topics."
In June 2018, however, Kobi decided to change GVI's core business and support startups in their global expansion in the European region.
We want to build the bridge towards Europe, to validate products and companies in the market there.
The main idea after the foundation was to support startups from the very beginning by providing advisors, mentors and experts to help them better prepare for the fundraising process as well as global market entry.
"Bridge Venture 360 was created for this very purpose.
This unique platform from GVI collaborates with global partners in 16 countries that are looking for innovation. By working together, we enable each of these countries to build strategic operations that companies looking for new, disruptive products can leverage”, Kobi says. He continues:
“Through the program, foreign markets can open a representative office in Israel to provide all commercial information regarding the countries they represent in Israel. This will attract both Israeli and foreign companies that want to bring their product to the market to raise funds from potential investors and receive comprehensive services from mentors and advisors to successfully enter the market."
In addition, to bring the companies to the appropriate markets that GVI believes fit the technology as well as the market needs, the team has built a broad investor network. This includes investors from Israel, venture capital from Europe, the US and Asia.
"More precisely, our network consists of 31 experts.
These cover the areas of AI, VR/AR, Finetech, Agritech, BlockChain, Life Science as well as Clean Energy. As our experts support investors in evaluating the company's potential and conducting due diligence, this also allows potential startups to be identified even better.
Thus, we not only make investments, but also provide specialized, strategic advice," explains Kobi Kalderon. "Currently, we serve startups from all over the world, supporting many from the U.S. space in particular."
How can suitable startups get in touch with GVI?
"On our website, startups can apply directly to our program under the "Pitch-Now" tab. This involves filling out a questionnaire that helps GVI better assess whether we would potentially invest in the company, as well as uploading a pitch page," explains Kobi Kalderon. "Two aspects are particularly relevant for us here: First, a relevant field of activity with convincing technologies. Second, we help the startup to scale."
Kobi describes this aspect vividly below, "For example, if a startup has a B2C focus instead of a B2B, or their target group is not yet fully defined, we still invest if their area of activity is relevant to us."
From which startup phase does GVI invest? How high are the investments?
"We focus on companies with Minimum Viable Products (MVP) after they have made their first sales to customers through a Proof of Concept (POC) or a policy project. In terms of sales amount, we expect sales around 10,000 euros. We also make sure in advance that the product has a market fit," Kobi adds.
He continues, "After the startups have pitched on our website and we have selected them, we present them to our strategic partners. They then decide together with the GVI investor network whether to make the investment. If the decision is positive, we start with seed or pre-seed rounds of 25,000 euros up to 10 million. This primarily supports companies from family offices and venture capital. In addition, we also like to carry out investments together with other investors."
"Our focus is always on technology-driven startups.
This diversified area gives us the advantage of supporting a heterogeneous spectrum of innovative ideas. Nevertheless, our focus in past investments has been on Energy, Clean Tech, Sustainability and Digital Health. These aspects, as well as anything related to AI and machine learning, are decidedly relevant to us.
Of course, the healthcare and chemical sectors are enormously exciting for us. We are happy when we have an opportunity to invest in this sector as well.
What facilitates communication between GVI and future startups?
"The assistance provided by our team of experts is extremely valuable, so it is beneficial if startups are generally open to our comments. But also, the mutually open and transparent communication helps to minimize potential risks. Because that way, everyone involved knows right away where they stand," Kobi elaborates.
"Ultimately, our passion is to help young founders bring their technologies to the global market.
In this respect, we hope that our future collaboration with 5-HT will enable us to identify innovative startups even better."
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