It’s been a very fulfilling 25 years here at JVP.
The Early Days
I still remember myself in 1990 when, as a young 28-year old, I had the Chutzpa to tell Jerusalem’s famed Mayor Teddy Kollek that we could transform the City. Taking Jerusalem from a city of strife, conflict and diversity, to a vital city driven by innovation, turning the challenges into what will emerge as the city’s biggest assets. Three years, four thriving high-tech parks, numerous legislations and multiple multinationals later, I moved on from the position, daring to believe that the new term ‘venture capital’ might be for me.
We founded JPV, our first fund, in 1993 in partnership with the Israeli Government through Yozma. I will never forget raising that first fund, visiting all our friends who had dreamed alongside Teddy and myself, about transforming Jerusalem and now we dream of transforming our Country. We set out to put Israel on the map. With 7 IPOs on Nasdaq, and a further 2 M&As, this fund made a true impact on Israel and the world. By the time our second fund came around we started to welcome institutional investors from Europe, the US and Asia, with the group moving into full action. We started to enjoy our first major exits, with our first exit, the sale of Scorpio to US Robotics, and later with the inflective $4.9 billion sale of Chromatis to Lucent Technologies, and even the IPO and ultimate exit at $5.5 billion value of Netro.
Over the past 25 years we have stayed true to our values, a dedicated and seasoned team with deep technological and operational skillset, a systematic approach to how we source our companies from seed through our incubator, or more mature opportunities from the wider market, our quest to have an influential holding to bring value to our investments, and most of all, our vision and belief in the trends driving the next wave. 25 years later we are happy to note the 35 exits, including 12 IPOs we led on NASDAQ, remembering the many a night spent helping the bankers understand the true disruption, and those harrowing years in the 2000s when we needed to huddle and regroup to persevere the two Financial Tsunami’s. Ultimately, we emerged on the other side with two of the greatest IPOs out of Israel, Qliktech which reached over $3 billion when sold, and CyberArk which recently topped $4.8 billion, along with a multitude of industry sales.
The Community, Where We Are Today:
With that said, JVP has never only been about its funds, it’s a mindset. In 2002, in the height of the second Intifada we opened the Ma’aba’da Creative Arts Theater aimed at preserving creativity in the city. The following year, 2003, my wife Debbie and I founded Bakehila, and together with our Partners and employees, we helped youngsters in underprivileged neighborhoods dream, hope, and succeed. In 2009, the JVP team and I took our pursuit to transform Jerusalem from within to the next level, and renovated the British Mandates Historical MINT, adjacent to the Old Ottoman Train Station, in the heart of the City. With hundreds of social and business entrepreneurs milling daily, we further embraced our passion, Social Entrepreneurship. In 2012 we took this passion to an additional city in Israel, this time in the southern desert town of Be’er Sheva, transforming a remote town into a global cyber capital, in partnership with Ben Gurion University, the Defense players, and numerous multinationals. In 2013 we continued this journey, this time leveraging my newly formed economic development NGO, Israel Initiative 2020, targeting the northern port city of Haifa as a focal point for digital health innovation, in partnership with the leading universities of the city, as well as the main hospital’s and multinationals such as Intel and Philips. Later that same year we embarked on our newest initiative, turning Israel into a leader in food and agricultural innovation, with hubs in the Galilee as well as other regions around the country. Bringing together a roster of local and international agro-leaders, leading universities, as well as the main agricultural players of the nation, taking Israel’s long-standing expertise in agricultural and food research to the next level.
JVP in New York City
Finally, last fall, we returned to New York City, this time being chosen by the Economic Development Authority to transform New York into an innovative cyber capital. In partnership with the four leading universities in the city, Columbia, NYC, Cornell and CUNY our new SOHO hub is due to officially open this December, and serve as the US home for our portfolio companies as well as for disruptive international innovators seeking a US presence.
So far, it’s been a fulfilling run, and my Partners and I are proud of the numerous employees, investors, friends and business colleagues who join us on our journey, transforming cities, a country, the region, as we work together to identify the next generation of world class disruptive entrepreneurs and their companies.
Erel N. Margalit, Founder and Executive Chairman