Launching Angular Ventures I
Specialist, post-geographic venture capital for enterprise tech founders in Europe & Israel
Today, I’m thrilled to announce the final close of Angular Ventures I at $41M to back the most ambitious, most technically-driven, and most unique enterprise tech companies coming out of Europe and Israel.
The fund’s final close was 64% oversubscribed above its $25M target, with 100% of our capital commitments coming from purely financial investors (the majority from the US). We are humbled by the faith put into us by our partner-backers, thrilled that our vision for the next-generation of non-US early-stage VC is resonating with some of the most sophisticated institutional LPs in the world, and excited by the journey ahead.
Angular Ventures is a specialist, early-stage, enterprise/deep tech fund. We will invest between $250K and $1.5M, and seek to partner with companies anywhere from their “first check” to their Series A. We’ll invest anywhere in Europe and Israel — and we’ve already made twelve investments, several of which are still in stealth mode. We’re thrilled that several of our early investments have been marked up, several have raised capital from leading US VC firms, and most have either opened a US presence or plan to do so very soon. More importantly, many of them have revenues and are already starting to scale — with the highest concentration of revenue being generated in the US.
What makes Angular Ventures unique?
- Track record. Over my career — as a VC, a tiny angel, an angel syndicate lead, and now at Angular, I have backed over 40 companies — all of them at seed stage, all of them enterprise, and all of them born in Europe or Israel. Within that portfolio, two of the companies have achieved valuations of over $1B, several more well over $100M, and the majority have relocated to the US and raised capital from US investors. We are one of the few funds operating in Europe and Israel with 100% of our track record in enterprise / deep tech.
- Tight focus on enterprise / deep tech. Angular Ventures is a specialist fund focused solely on enterprise tech and deep tech. We invest in what we know — and in areas where we can be helpful in a meaningful way.
- US-oriented. Angular is focused on helping founders build global businesses — and, in the enterprise space, we believe the best place to do that is the US. We try to back founders tackling truly global markets and this usually means an emphasis on US sales and operations relatively early in the lifecycle of the company.
- Geographically agnostic. Angular’s investor base includes no governments and no tax-incentivized investors. As such, we have no geographic targets for our portfolio which means that — unlike many other funds — we invest agnostically across the European and Israeli geography — in the best founders and companies we can find regardless of where they are from.
- Value-added. To support our portfolio, Angular’s team includes a Head of Platform, Anne Blum, who is based in New York to provide hands-on support to our portfolio as they break into the US market. In addition, we provide access to a team of highly experienced mentors — matched specifically to each portfolio company. This group includes Fred Simon (founder of JFrog), Eldad Farkash (founder of SiSense), Jerry Dischler (product lead at Google Search), and Guy Poreh (formerly head of digital for BBDO).
- High-conviction concentrated early-stage portfolio. We believe that early-stage Venture Capital should be a high-conviction activity. We do not spray and pray. Unlike many seed investors that will invest in upwards of 20 (or even 50) companies per year, Angular Ventures invests in 4–6 companies per year. When we choose to partner with a founding team, it’s because we have done the diligence and the work necessary to build high-conviction — and we are deeply committed to the success of all of our portfolio companies. From our network of industry-specific advisory partners to the platform we are building to help our companies land in the US successfully, we are planning to punch way above our weight with low-volume, high-impact value-added work for a carefully curated and concentrated portfolio. Much more on this in the coming months.
Why do we exist?
Angular is the product of a 20-year journey through tech finance and venture capital in three countries. My first real job was on Wall Street, covering tech companies in the last days of the dotcom bubble and through most of the subsequent downturn. I made no money, but learned what EBITDA was and the difference between paper value and free cash flow. I moved to Israel in 2005 to join a VC firm, Genesis, and then another, Gemini — two of the original wave of Yozma-backed VC funds that defined the Israeli venture landscape for a generation. Neither fund exists today, but the lessons I learned there will serve me for the rest of my career: we were finding and backing truly technical founders building truly technical companies: semis, solar, security and then, inevitably, software and SaaS. We were backing AI, Big Data, and DevOps long before it was cool, well before it was obvious, and years before those terms were part of everyday parlance.
I moved to London on a job offer and — much to my surprise — fell in love with the broader venture opportunity that Europe with its 500 million brilliant people represented. Suddenly, my Israeli venture experience had context, resonance, and new relevance. I continued to source deals in Israel but increasingly found myself excited about opportunities in new markets: London, Berlin, Vienna and beyond.
While I struggled to find traction, I was taking notes and jotting down lessons. These observations would underpin the fund thesis for what would eventually become Angular:
- The best deep tech and enterprise tech companies look strikingly similar no matter where they came from — the pattern matching I had started to build in Israel was equally relevant in other places
- Israel is uniquely important, but it’s only half the picture — amazingly, Israel’s population of 8M people has produced as many US-led enterprise tech Series A rounds and as much enterprise tech exit value as all of Europe combined, but Europe was an increasingly rich and promising source of investment opportunities that I found very exciting — and I could function effectively in both markets
- US market entry is the name of the game — over 90% of the exit value of enterprise tech companies born in Europe or Israel was generated by companies that had a significant US footprint — it doesn’t really matter where you come from but it sure as hell matters where you are going
Angular is built from the ground up with these observations in mind. Selling that vision to investors in a new fund, however, wasn’t going to be that easy.
How did we get here?
We are extremely proud of the quality of the LP base we have assembled for Angular Ventures — and the fact that we didn’t have to make any compromises in our fund strategy in order to get the fund raised. Our focus was identifying institutional investors who understood the fund’s strategy, saw the uniqueness of the approach, and would be willing to underwrite our ability to invest aggressively across the geography we target — with no specific geographic targets. This ruled out any government LPs that would limit us to specific geographies. It also ruled out corporate LPs who would limit our sector focus to their strategic objectives.
While I knew the fundraising would be a challenge, I didn’t fully appreciate just how difficult it would be. I wrote the first draft of what would become the Angular Ventures fundraising deck on a flight in the summer of 2014 — and our first close was in 2018, nearly four years later — and on less than half of our target amount. I once flew from London to Boston for an LP meeting that got canceled while I was in the air. I got the email before the plane touched down. I once arrived at a meeting in Paris to find the receptionist staring at me quizzically — I had arrived precisely one month early for an LP meeting. I raised no money in Paris. I now have three favorite BBQ places in North Carolina, a beautiful state I’d never been to before this process, a state where I’ve met LPs in four different cities on multiple visits, and a state in which I wasn’t able to raise a penny. I will never forget walking with my wife one evening in Tel Aviv and getting the call from the West Coast: a significant LP I was counting on to get the fund to a viable size for a first-close had pulled out. The reason: the investment committee just couldn’t get comfortable with non-US exposure. This went on for months on end.
Our CRM system (Pipedrive) lists 1,395 potential LPs, of which I probably interacted with 600 and met at least 300. Because this is a business of long-term trust and values alignment, I thought it was essential to meet potential LPs in person. And so (according to Tripit), I logged about 1.2 million kilometers in the air to get this done. As you might imagine, the hit rate here was very low — but the investment in building relationships with the people and institutions I was seeking to partner with was essential. Over time, I found the right partners — and we are beyond thrilled to have them on board.
Starting anything — a company, a new fund, or anything else worth doing — is impossible without the support of friends, believers, advisors, supporters, and family members. There are countless people without whom Angular Ventures simply would not exist — and I hesitate to name them for fear of forgetting someone. But let me try:
- Thank you to Eldad Farkash, Phil Wickham, and Ron Yachini for believing in Angular before it even had a name — with you in the slide deck I knew I was home
- Thank you to Mark Ziering for taking a chance on me as a summer intern at Genesis in 2003, and to Eddy Shalev and Eyal Kishon for making a full-time offer to be a VC for the first time
- Thank you to Bernard Dalle and Pascal Jouin of Index Ventures for critical early advice and support in the fundraising process
- Thank you to Jason Green, Saar Gur, Jeff Clavier, Eric Weisen, Tomasz Tunguz, Danny Cohen, Terrence Rohan, Yair Shoham, Kevin Johnson, Yossi Sela, David Cohen, Andy Weissman, Lenny Pruss, Arnon Dinur, Gil Goren, Adam Fisher, Mike Brown, Avidan Ross, Yoni Cheifetz, Mike Chalfen, Max Claussen, Jason Whitmire, and Bill Bryant for your guidance and wisdom throughout the fundraising process
- Thank you to Kevin Johnson, Fred Court, and Terrence Rohan — your kind words when I needed them most were more valuable than you will ever know
- Thank you to Fred Simon, Shlomi Ben Haim, and Yoav Landman and the rest of the JFrog swamp for the years of partnership
- Thank you to Guy Poreh, Uri Baruchin, Jen Schear, Jerry Dischler, and Oren Raboy for signing on before there was anything to sign
- Thank you to Dom, Joe, Brittany, David, and Tom at VMS for helping Angular to function like a firm ten times its size
- Thank you to Jim, David, and Claire at SVB for never losing a wire
- Thank you to my friends at Invitalia and Highland Capital Partners for giving me a place to hang my hat during my period of professional homelessness
- Thank you to David Bellet, Tina Bellet, Stacey Bellet, and Matt Price for your conviction, support, and introductions
- Thank you to our LPs, large and small, for proving the naysayers wrong, for patiently waiting for the fund to form, for seeing persistence as a positive, for your feedback, for your faith in what we are building
- Thank you to Steve Franklin, Jonathan Goodwin and the rest of the Gunderson team for believing I’d be in a position to eventually pay for your excellent work
- Thank you to Andrew Poesaste and Anne Blum for joining the team. We are going to build something amazing together. We already are
- Thank you to the founders who have trusted me with your partnership over the years — working for you and learning from you has been the greatest professional gift of my life
- Thank you to my family for enduring and understanding the crazy pace of work necessary to get this off the ground
And finally but most importantly to the two ladies in my life: To Maya, my daughter, who arrived in the middle of this process and gave renewed meaning to everything; and — most of all — to Millia, the love of my life, who endured weeks of separation, months of crisis, and years of struggle to get this off the ground but who never seemed to doubt that it would eventually fly. Whatever strength I had in this came from you, Millia.
To all of you — thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Below is a look into the last four years of my life, and some images from a few of those 1.2M kilometers…