Announcing Our New Fund — UpWest Fund III
Today, we are pleased to formally announce the closing of our third fund — UpWest Fund III. This is an $18M fund focused on pre-seed and seed stage startups at the US and Israel technology junction.
UpWest Fund III is built upon the vision we had six years ago when we first started investing in Israeli founders eager to break into the US market. Through our work with hundreds of Israeli entrepreneurs looking to start a global company, we remarked that their biggest challenge was and continues to be not capital, but rather market validation and access to US customers as early as possible.
Our experience in recent years taught us that despite the increased availability of early stage funding, many founders looked to “bootstrap” while partnering with UpWest at the Pre-seed or Seed stage in order to gain meaningful market insights, product validation and customer momentum before officially fundraising. We love to partner with such founders at a frighteningly early stage where much of the product/market validation does not yet exist.
Since we raised $2M for our first fund in 2012, we have built and scaled UpWest to become the most active US fund focusing on Israeli founders. We have been privileged to work closely with so many exceptional entrepreneurs, helping them envision the future while wrestling early-stage challenges and hustling in uncharted territory and cutting-edge domains.
Today, we have the largest portfolio of Israeli startups headquartered in the US; we were fortunate to be the first institutional investors in over 70 startups, including SentinelOne, Airobotics, Honeybook, Keywee, CyberX, and many more. These companies have gone on to raise over $500M in VC funding and employ hundreds of people.
UpWest Fund III is 2.5x the size of our previous fund and is backed by institutional LPs, including fund-of-funds, family offices, corporations and leading tech entrepreneurs. We’ve been fortunate to have in this fund many of the same investors who backed us when UpWest was in its infancy, operating above a sandwich shop across the street from Stanford University.
While so much in what we do and how we do it has evolved over the years, many things remain the same for us. In particular, our conviction and focus on remaining a small fund, investing in very early-stage startups, backing market-centric founders and supporting our growing portfolio over the long term.
Although our new fund is larger than our previous funds, our intention is to engage deeper and further in the future of our startups. We look to invest only in a select group of startups each year so as to ensure we have the bandwidth to support them on an ongoing basis. This means we can and will deploy more capital in our companies in follow-on rounds.
UpWest Fund III is in many ways a continuation of the work we started six years ago. It’s been a thrilling ride, but we know our work is just beginning. We are thankful to those who’ve been instrumental part of our journey. In particular we thank our early champion, partner and fund advisor Liron Petrushka. Finally, to our founders, colleagues, investors and extended network, we are grateful for your support and look forward to continued successful partnership.
– Gil Ben-Artzy and Shuly Galili