YL Ventures Closes on a $75 Million Fund to Invest in Seed-Stage Israeli Entrepreneurs

The fund will invest in seed-stage Israeli companies in high-growth sectors including cybersecurity, enterprise software, autonomous vehicles, drone technologies and VR/AR

The head of the new fund, Managing Partner Yoav Andrew Leitersdorf, at Cybertech 2017 Conference (Photo: Gilad Kavalerchik)

YL Ventures announced it had closed its third fund, YLV III. The new fund builds on the success of its two prior funds, both of which generated returns in the top quartile of all North American Venture Capital funds, according to Preqin.

YLV III was significantly over-subscribed with nearly 100 percent of existing YLV II investors participating, and closed on $75 million, 25 percent above its target of $60 million. The fund will invest in seed-stage Israeli companies in high-growth sectors including cybersecurity, enterprise software, autonomous vehicles, drone technologies and VR/AR.

YLV III aims to invest in two to three companies per year. Initial seed investments will be $2-3 million, with YL Ventures leading the rounds. A large portion of the fund is reserved to participate in US VC-led follow-on rounds of its portfolio companies.

Heading the new fund is Silicon Valley-based Managing Partner Yoav Andrew Leitersdorf, who founded the firm in 2007. Rounding out the team is Ofer Schreiber, partner, leading the Israeli office; Iren Reznikov, senior analyst, and Sharon Seemann, marketing director. YL Ventures is currently recruiting additional investment professionals to join its Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv offices.

Leitersdorf attributes the heightened interest in YLV III to soaring cybersecurity spending, expected to exceed $202 billion in 2021, according to Markets&Markets, and the deep domain expertise and experience in cybersecurity that Israeli entrepreneurs possess, most of who graduated from the IDF’s intelligence units.

"For YL Ventures, this convergence represents an opportunity to address evolving security risks and leverage Israel’s unique talent pool to meet the mounting global demand for the most effective solutions," said Leitersdorf.

"Israel is a well-known powerhouse for cybersecurity and related technological innovation. We are able to harness that expertise to expand into new sectors that leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, big data, and robotics - all of which are highly relevant to our new fund. While remaining extremely selective, we can vet ideas fast, devote substantial attention to helping our companies scale, and provide a lot of value post-investment."