Nielsen Launches $25M Chief Scientist Backed Early Stage Investment Fund In Israel

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After being awarded the mandate to launch a government-backed technology incubator in July 2012, Nielsen is today announcing the launch of ‘Nielsen Innovate‘, a $25M Israeli fund dedicated to early stage investments in web, media, research, measurement, and advertising startups. The fund is co-owned with Partam High Tech, the private investment fund of Yigal Ahuvi.

Heading the new fund is Esther Barak-Landes, who has run Partam’s high-tech investment activities since 2006.

Located in the Caesarea Industrial Zone (a 30-minute drive to Hertzeliya & Tel-Aviv, the two cities where most of Israel’s hitch companies are based), Nielsen Innovate is a Chief Scientist incubator company. This means that for every dollar it invests, the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist will invest $5 alongside. This is an option however. The fund will be able to invest without the involvement of the Chief Scientist should it choose to do so.

Esther Barak_LandesNielsen, which owns 51% of the fund, intends to support the portfolio with follow-on investments, as well as business development assistance — particularly important for early stage companies.

With a number of exits, most notably Dapper to Yahoo for $50M, Playtika to Caesars Entertainment for $100M, and StoreWize to IBM for $140M, Partam High Tech brings experience in day-to-day hand-holding, specifically in the areas of technology, business development, marketing, finance and operations.

Joining Barak-Landes on the fund’s board will be two Nielsen executives: Israeli serial entrepreneur and current EVP of Global Business Development and M&A at Nielsen, Itzhak Fisher, and Bruce Haymes, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development.