RUNI Ventures, Reichman University’s venture capital fund, announced the first closing of its investment fund, raising $30 million. The announcement comes just five months after the founding of the fund, which was established to take advantage of direct access to the many companies that grow each year in the variety of entrepreneurship programs, innovation labs and active accelerators on campus. The importance of the first close is that a significant portion of the target amount has been raised and the fund can begin to use the money to make investments.
The university itself will not invest, but will act as a general partner (GP) and will charge a 2% management fee and a 20% success fee, as is typical in the venture capital industry. Although the university is a not-for-profit organization, the fund’s proceeds are supposed to flow into an endowment fund, which is being modeled after wealthy universities in the US, which manage funds in the billions. of dollars. “Our deal flow looks very good. It’s a good indication that stronger and more precise companies grow here during times of crisis, so this is also a good time for early-stage investments,” said Hila Rom, Managing Partner and executive director of RUNI Ventures. .
RUNI Ventures will invest in startup companies in the pre-Seed stage, and operates on a unique model according to which, in addition to investing amounts close to half a million dollars per project, its portfolio companies will receive tools specially enabled for the first stages of life. of a project. These tools include, among other things, a co-working space in Herzliya, the placement of outstanding students as interns or employees, advice from academics and industry experts, as well as the ecosystem of university graduates in which there are many high-profile entrepreneurs. technology.
Despite its young age, the university recently ranked 7th in the world among universities of similar size and 38th among all universities in the number of companies founded by its graduates, according to Pitchbook. The university hopes to benefit from the success of its graduates in the high-tech sector. Reichman graduates have founded more than 300 start-ups in the last two decades, raising a total of $4.8 billion. Some 14 of those startups became unicorns, with some of them going public on Wall Street, including Similarweb, monday.com, Hippo, and ironSource. Unicorns to be founded by Reichman graduates include Melio, Bizzabo and HoneyBook.
The university revealed that a third of the start-ups were already founded by students during their studies or within two years of graduation, and almost half of the entrepreneurs met their partners at the university. Because of this, the university is able to access these startups much sooner, sometimes even before they enter the VC fund market.
The fund will be established as part of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at Reichman and is the brainchild of the school’s dean, Dr. Yossi Maaravi. Professor Yair Tauman, the school’s founding dean and one of Israel’s most active angel investors, will head the investment committee. The fund will be managed by CEO Hila Rom, former CEO of MAKERS – Venture Builders, and founder and CEO of agtech incubator Yakhin Impact.
Reichman will be the second university to start such a fund in Israel, joining Tel Aviv University’s TAU Ventures founded five years ago.