What started as an accident has turned into a venture firm with a global reach and backing from some of the biggest corporations in the automotive and transportation industries.
Maniv Mobility, the Israel-based venture capitalist firm, said Tuesday it has closed a new $100 million fund backed by 12 corporations, including the venture arms of Aptiv, BMW, Hyundai, Lear Corp., LG Electronics, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, Shell and Valeo.
Other investors that joined the round include Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, the venture arm of the German rail and logistics operator Deutsche Bahn; the Israeli car importer Carasso Motors; and numerous individuals, family offices and institutional investors, according to Maniv.
The company officially considers 2016 its launch date, although founder and managing director Michael Granoff and Maniv partner Olaf Sakkers were making smaller angel investments back in 2015. The VC began raising its first fund, which ended up at $44 million, in 2016. (Granoff will be onstage July 10 in San Jose as part of the TC Sessions: Mobility event.)
“We call ourselves an accidental VC,” Sakkers explained to TechCrunch recently. Since the beginning, they have focused on the thesis that there is a significant disruption happening in mobility and working closely with founders helps them develop their technology. “We’ve just realized that running a VC is the most effective way for us to do that,” he added.
Now Maniv is taking its core beliefs global. The firm initially focused on transportation and mobility-related startups in Israel, with a few in investments in the U.S. The company’s portfolio includes vehicle security company Owlcam, peer-to-peer car-sharing company Turo, teleoperations startup Phantom Auto, autonomous vehicle-focused chipmaker Hailo, shared electric moped company Revel and in-vehicle software management firm Aurora Labs. It was one of the many VCs that backed Drive.ai, the troubled autonomous vehicle tech startup that was recently acquired (in what has been described as an acqui-hire) by Apple as it prepared to shut down.
The VC has made five investments from the new fund, including Spain-based car subscription startup Bipi and Revel. Three others have not been announced yet, although one is a startup focused on food delivery and another is a digital insurance firm.
Maniv Mobility is focused on just one vertical: mobility. But it’s taking a global investment approach by working with strategic partners in Europe, North America, Israel and, in the long term, possibly India and other Asian markets. Those partnerships are central to the firm’s investment strategy and are on clear display in Tel Aviv, a city that has exploded in recent years with startups and a number of automotive venture arms.
“Mobility is a very global game,” Sakkers told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “That’s something that we want to pursue, plus our network of investors actually want global exposure.”