Conduit Joins Billion-Dollar Club As Yozma Sells Stake

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Update: An earlier version of this post identified the firm that was supposedly buying Yozma’s shares, but they’re now denying that they were involved in the deal, so I have removed them from the story at their request.

Yozma Venture Capital is selling its stake in startup Conduit for a massive return. The story was reported in the Israeli publication Globes, but I’ve confirmed the details with a source who has knowledge of the deal.

Yozma invested $1.5 million for 9 percent ownership of Conduit in 2006. Now it’s selling its stake for $250 million to an unidentified investor. In other words, it’s seeing a return that’s nearly 200 times the size of the initial investment. According to Globes, the Israeli venture capital industry has never seen a return on that scale.

This deal values Conduit at $2.5 billion — which, incidentally, puts it in the billion-dollar league that Index Ventures partner Saul Klein predicted for it last year. The company started out as a toolbar startup, partnering with both Google and then Microsoft, but it recently rebranded as a wide-ranging service to help publishers engage their users. Conduit says it works with 260,000 publishers to reach 250 million users in 120 companies.