Natalie is Director of Value Creation at Qumra Capital, the first Israeli Venture Capital fund to focus on the Israeli late-stage market, looking for exceptionally ambitious and visionary teams. Natalie leads value creation, meeting with startups and generating deal flow, creating business development opportunities and partnerships with global tech giants, and working closely with the portfolio companies to enhance peer knowledge sharing. Prior to Qumra, Natalie was Head of Startups Fundraising at BDO, responsible for deal sourcing, capital raising and business development for startups, and creating business partnerships. Natalie previously held positions as a high-tech and M&A lawyer in leading Israeli law firms and legal counsel.
- How did you get into Venture Capital?
I started my career as a High-tech and M&A lawyer, where my love for startups and tech began. Working on the legal aspects of a funding round or an M&A deal inspired me to pursue the business side.
After working for the largest law firms in Israel, and as legal counsel, I decided to join BDO, a global accounting and consulting firm, as head of fundraising for startups. After working with young startups and helping them with their fundraising and business development efforts, I was eager to explore a VC role.
I joined Qumra, the leading growth fund in Israel, investing in late-stage companies in July 2019 as Director of Value Creation. We first met through a mutual contact, and together we built the Value Creation position, as it was a new position in the fund. Today, alongside generating deal flow for future investments, I have the privilege to work with amazing entrepreneurs and companies. Creating business development opportunities and partnerships with global tech giants, and working closely with our portfolio companies to enhance peer knowledge sharing.
2. What is the startup scene like in Israel?
Israel is well known for its thriving, well-developed tech ecosystem. Combining aspiring young entrepreneurs, veterans of highly advanced military units, local and global VCs, and multinationals help position Israel as a Startup Nation.
The Israeli tech ecosystem is rapidly maturing and is now even referred to as a Scale-up Nation due to the number of unicorns and growth companies evolving. From 2013, late-stage funding in tech had gone from $220M to $4.0B in 2020,and the average late-stage round size grew from $13M to $60M. Israeli tech companies are breaking the unicorn glass ceiling, and more companies are filing for IPOs. We are also seeing an incredible number of serial entrepreneurs building their second and third companies.
3. What is the future of venture capital post this coronavirus climate?
The Corona Virus fuelled various tech verticals that will likely continue to be dominant post-pandemic as well. We are seeing tremendous growth in digital transformation, in sectors such as health care, cloud and security companies, onlinemarketplaces, AI, and in technology that helps save money.
Even though the pandemic outcomes are yet to be seen, as a late-stage fund, we are seeing an acceleration of growth companies that are skyrocketing. Valuations haven’t gone down yet, and competition is still fierce when it comes to top-performing companies.
As we are in dynamic times, companies are adapting to change, and so are the VCs. Some VCs might continue to invest closer to home due to ongoing travel restrictions, but the very strong companies will continue to draw investors’ attention globally.
As COVID may be a catalyst for digitization processes helping the tech market thrive, VCs will continue to be a funding engine for startups. An interesting indication for this could be the tech companies’ stocks rising dramatically in the public market.
4. What can VCs offer startups besides funding?
The value-add VCs can offer their portfolio companies extends much beyond funding. Building a framework to help support your portfolio varies by fund according to stage, sector, and investment thesis. Here are a few examples:
· Board Seat – selecting your investors and board members is critically important. Choosing the right partner for your journey can go a long way in scaling your company. An investor should be a true partner with which you have great chemistry and a trusted relationship.
· Connections to Industry experts and investors – providing access to a broad network, including potential investors and acquirers.
· Business Development Support – creating meaningful introductions to potential customers and partners.
· Sharing knowledge and expertise within the portfolio network – a huge asset a VC has is its portfolio’s talent and experience. Creating curated actionable insights, events, resources, and a sense of community and peer learning.
· Executive Hiring – VCs have an extensive network and can help their companies by providing access to top talent.
5. What advice would you give to young budding entrepreneurs?
Building a company is a long journey, so perseverance and focus are paramount. For first time entrepreneurs understanding the market you are operating in – is key. Learn your potential client base, their true pain points, and evaluate your competition in order to gain an advantage. Be agile as you will probably pivot several times until reaching product-market fit, yet build the company on a strong foundation, with the best leadership team possible. Be ready to react fast to changing market needs. Also, constantly challenge yourself, and think critically about the strategic decisions you are taking.
We would like to thank Natalie for speaking with us.