A new investment club focused exclusively on high-tech startups headed by ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) entrepreneurs in the KamaTech accelerator points to the slow but steady growth of Haredi participation in the high-tech ecosystem in Israel.
The 12Angels investment club includes some of Israel’s biggest names in the industry: Izhar Shay and Ehud Levy of Canaan Partners Israel, serial entrepreneur and investor Gigi Levy Weiss, flash-drive pioneer Dov Moran, Facebook Israel Country Manager Adi Soffer Teeni, Cisco Israel executive Zika Abzuk, WIX cofounder Avishai Avrahami, Afterdox managing partner Irit Israeli Kahana, Cyota and Kaltura President Michal Tsur, Chemi Peres and Rami Kalish of Pitango Venture Capital, serial entrepreneur Rami Lipman, Plarium CEO Avi Shalel, Raoul Stein of Kreos Capital and Microsoft Israel R&D Center General Manager Yoram Yaacovi.
KamaTech founder Moshe Friedman said 12Angels “is indicative of a lot of goodwill that Israel’s high-tech industry leaders have to help the Haredi high-tech phenomenon, and a lot of trust they have for the Haredi emerging startups. We started with 12 angels and now we have about 30. More people are always approaching us because they connect with our goal of integrating Haredim into the workplace.”
12Angels has raised nearly half a million dollars so far, Friedman tells ISRAEL21c. “We have an investment committee that decides how much to invest in each KamaTech company.”
Among the first eight graduates of KamaTech since its founding in late 2013 are Cognilyze psychology-based product recommendation engine; Pojo premium WordPress themes for bloggers; and EnglishOn for learning English, Spanish, French or Chinese through reading online major newspapers in the target languages. Another eight startups, chosen from 450 applicants, are now in the accelerator.