Exclusive: SoftBank eavesdrops on former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen to lead Israeli office


From Mossad chief to world’s largest venture capital firm: sources report to Globes that Japanese investor Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank appoints former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen as manager of his activities in Israel. SoftBank is considered the world’s leading technology fund, with large investments in companies such as Uber, Alibaba, TikTok and Didi. This is the second investment giant within three months to open a representative office in Israel, after Blackstone appointed Yifat Oron as senior general manager and head of the Tel Aviv office.

One of the reasons for choosing Cohen is the fact that he is a famous and popular person in Israel, although he has no background in investing. Cohen has the ability to connect with Israeli entrepreneurs and technology and open doors for them in any company, government or public body in any territory.

Cohen will manage SoftBank’s activities in Israel, research investment companies and help those companies find global markets, with a focus on Asia. Cohen will work with SoftBank’s Europe and Middle East team, managed from SoftBank Vision Fund managing partner Yanni Pipilis from London. He will be a member of SoftBank’s second fund, worth $ 30 billion, and will not invest from that company’s first fund, among investors in which Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is.

Globes has learned that SoftBank intends to write a check of at least $ 50 million for growing companies with estimates of at least $ 250 million that have proven high-level AI technology, whether it is technology to find the right price for the right customer or corporate software that serves other companies. The companies that could benefit from SoftBank’s investments are growing companies in the late stages of fundraising, from the second, third or fourth round. SoftBank will require companies to have an annual income of at least 10 million US dollars, with rapid growth and numbers that indicate profitability, even if it is medium-term.

“SoftBank has pioneered a new approach to investing in technology and created the world’s largest emerging technology technology ecosystem,” Cohen said. “Israel’s advanced technology and entrepreneurial culture make it a natural fit into SoftBank’s investment vision and I look forward to helping fast-growing companies in the region and globally.”

“We are very interested in expanding our presence in Israel. We massively believe in the ecosystem that exists in the country because we are investors in technology and artificial intelligence, and Israel has amazing entrepreneurs and founders in this technology space,” Pipilis told. Globes. ”“ We thought an increase in concentration in that area would make sense. We have recently completed more investments in Israel and are seeing many other attractive opportunities.

“When we met Mr. Cohen, we were immediately excited about the possibility of working together. He is very well connected with the Israeli industry as a whole, he is someone that entrepreneurs and founders can recognize and can be our central focal point.

“It is clear that his relations with Israeli industry and his ability to cross international relations are effective so that they can essentially help these entrepreneurs connect globally with the AI ​​ecosystem.

“When we invest in a company, we try to introduce them to SoftBank’s network of more than 200 companies, helping them expand to new countries, such as Asia, Japan and the Middle East. Mr. Cohen’s experience in international affairs is a great asset.”

Posted by Globes, business news in Israel – en.globes.co.il – July 9, 2021

© Copyright Globes Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021

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