Maniv Mobility, the first Israel-based venture fund dedicated exclusively to mobility tech, has raised its first fund, in excess of $40 million, twice its target. Limited Partners in Maniv include equity crowdfunding pioneer OurCrowd, InMotion Ventures, a subsidiary of Jaguar Land Rover, and the $14 billion French Tier One supplier, Valeo, as well as hedge funds and family offices.
An affiliate of the 20-year-old Maniv Investments, Maniv Mobility invests primarily at the seed and Series A stage and already boasts a portfolio of 15 mobility technology startups, mostly in Israel with some in the US. Over the last several years, and especially since Intel announced the acquisition of Mobileye for over $15 billion in March, the global automotive industry has increasingly been looking to Israel for the technology building-blocks that will be the centre of its future value chain.
Maniv Founder, Michael Granoff has been involved in transportation technology for nearly 15 years, beginning with a role in the creation of the Washington, DC-based energy security policy group, Securing America’s Future Energy. He also participated in the electric vehicle infrastructure and services start-up, Better Place, which raised nearly a billion dollars before shuttering in 2013.
“The move in locomotion from gasoline to electric, while being a crucial step, I now realise will also someday be seen as an historical footnote,” said Granoff. “The true headline of the coming era in transportation is the switch from manual vehicles to automated ones. Automated vehicles will be electric – breaking oil’s stranglehold, and giving us cleaner air. But these vehicles will do so much more: save lives and time through accident avoidance, expand mobility to the young, the old, the infirm, allow us to reclaim precious real estate from idle vehicles, and more.”
“We’re honoured to be participating in Maniv Mobility’s first fund,” said Sebastian Peck, Managing Director at InMotion Ventures. “Some hugely promising businesses are being built in Israel, so expanding our reach here has been an important objective. InMotion’s mission is to support the best mobility startups all over the world, and this partnership with Maniv will form an integral part of that.”
“OurCrowd is excited to be a major investor in Maniv Mobility, which is focusing on the next generation of transportation technology,” said Jon Medved, CEO of Limited Partner OurCrowd. “Now that Israel is recognised as a world leader in this sector, there will increased global attention to Maniv’s portfolio companies, many of whom are already pioneers in emerging new technologies, ranging from automotive data to advanced sensors, simulation to robotics, and automotive security to inter-vehicle communication.”
“Valeo is happy to join Maniv Mobility as Limited Partner, which is a pioneer in the automotive tech area in Israel,” said Jacques Aschenbroich, CEO of Valeo. “We can see in the current portfolio that Israel is becoming a major player in several technologies driving the coming revolution of mobility, be it driverless, connected or digital.”
“We’ve had the privilege to meet amazing Founders as they’re looking to enter the automotive sector and we are able to help them sharpen their strategy and make key introductions to accelerate their business,” said Olaf Sakkers, who has been promoted to the role of Partner at Maniv Mobility. “Success in venture capital is driven by network effects and we’re seeing a strong positive feedback loop between the network of relationships we’ve built in the global automotive and tech industry, public policy sector, and within our portfolio of top-tier startups: each relationship we form gives us the ability to strengthen the others while affording us privileged access to the granular information that moves through such networks.”
Maniv is particularly proud that three Founder/CEOs of the portfolio companies asked to become Limited Partners in the fund. “We have terrific relationships with the management of our portfolio companies,” said Granoff. “We eat, breath and sleep mobility, so we are able to support them as they strategise and chart their course.”
Ben Volkow, Co-founder and CEO of portfolio company otonomo, which recently completed a $25 million Series B, said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Maniv Mobility over the past few years. Michael and Olaf have added real strategic value based on their experience in the transportation industry. I am really impressed by the portfolio they have built and the direction in which they are moving in and am looking forward to being a part of this journey both as a Founder and as an LP in the fund.”
“In this sector, we see both a tremendous opportunity to deliver outsized returns to our investors, and a unique chance to help companies make transportation safer, cleaner, more efficient, less expensive and much more versatile,” said Maniv Founder, Michael Granoff. “When it comes to the contributions of Israeli entrepreneurs in mobility, Waze and Mobileye were the tip of the iceberg. On their heels are companies like Cognata which is building highly realistic 3D-simulation engine to train and validate autonomous systems, Upstream Security which is developing cloud-based cybersecurity for vehicle fleets and OryxVision, a vision sensor that will allow superior range, resolution and function over current lidar solutions while costing less. All three are in Israel and all three are in our portfolio. We’re seeking out the companies that are creating technologies that will accelerate the arrival of our autonomous future, but that have sustainable businesses even if that future takes several years to materialise.”