Dallas Business Leaders Run VC Firm Backing Israeli Startups

Gefen Capital Investments LLP is a unique U.S.-Israeli investment group led by Dallas business leaders Sheldon Stein and David Wiessman. It also counts Ross Perot Jr. among its investors.

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Startups in Israel are looking to an investment firm with a Dallas connection to back their companies.

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Sheldon Stein

Gefen Capital Investments LLP is a unique U.S.-Israeli investment group led by general partner Sheldon Stein of Dallas, who is also president of Houston-based Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, the largest distributor of wines and spirits in the U.S., and his partners David Wiessman, executive director and chairman of Dallas-based Alon USA, and Limor Ganot, a former Alon Israel executive.

Gefen has 16 private investors including Ross Perot Jr. on its team who are pooling their money to invest in Israeli startups, according to a report in The Jerusalem Post.

“We have access to tremendous amounts of money,” Stein told the Post. “It’s a diverse group of fabulous wealthy investors who are excited about investing in startup Israeli high-tech companies, who believe in what’s going on in Israel, and who look at it as an alternative to Silicon Valley.”

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David Wiessman

Stein said that the valuations of the companies are better and the technology is just as good.

Most of the investors are based in Dallas and New York, the Post said, and have a cumulative worth of more than $20 billion. Most also are not Jewish, coming from either secular or evangelical Christian backgrounds.

“A lot of these people are very aware of what’s happening in Israel,” Stein told the Post. “They saw this an opportunity to invest in Israel with a group of people who they trust.”

“They think that what’s going on in Israel is phenomenal, and they understand all the technology coming from here.” 
Sheldon Stein

Stein added: “They think that what’s going on in Israel is phenomenal, and they understand all the technology coming from here.”

According to the Post, Gefen invests $1 million to $2 million in early-stage seed funding for each startup in Israel and don’t require the Israeli firms to prove they have revenue.

So far, Gefen has made 10 investments in such areas as medical devices, agricultural technology, and cybersecurity. They plan to invest in such areas as artificial intelligence, big data analysis, and financial technology.

On its website, Gefen said its strong contacts will help Israeli startups penetrate the U.S. market.

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