When Ibex Investors founder and CEO Justin Borus looks at the transportation industry — and the technological changes that are coming — he sees one of the biggest opportunities in a lifetime. And with a fresh $113 million fund focused on early-stage mobility companies, his firm is tapping into it.
“There will be more change in the next five to 10 years than in the past 100 years, Borus said, referring to the shift to autonomous vehicles and other changes in the transportation industry. “I would equate it (our fund) to an internet fund in 1996 or 1997.”
Ibex Investors, which is based in Denver with offices in New York and Tel Aviv, was founded in 2003 with a “multi-stage” and “multi-strategy” investment strategy. What this translates to is a firm that invests in private and public companies from the seed stage all the way through to IPO.
Their structure is unlike the traditional venture capital firm. Technically, Ibex is a registered investment adviser, although it is not an investment banker. Ibex does have dedicated VC funds, including a $100 million early-stage fund focused on Israel-based startups across all sectors, an Israel-focused hedge fund and a mobility-focused hedge fund that trades mostly in equities. Ibex also makes select one-off investments in later-stage mobility startups such as Revel. In all, the firm has about $1.2 billion in assets under management.
This latest fund has a dedicated focus on early-stage mobility startups, but it’s not restricted to Israel or any other geography. That opens Ibex to a whole new swath of mobility startups.
Jeff Peters, who recently joined Ibex after a stint at Autotech Ventures, said the fund is looking for startups in sharing and connectivity, electrification and autonomy.
That’s a lot of ground to cover. Ibex has kicked off this fund with two investments. One is into Aifleet, an Austin-based startup that has developed software to eliminate wait times for trucking; the other is an investment into Visionary.ai, an Israeli digital imaging processor company. Borus told TechCrunch that he believes trucking will be among the first sectors to be disrupted by autonomous vehicle technology.
Marc El Khoury, the co-founder and CEO of Aifleet, said he was drawn to Ibex, in part, because of the company’s limited partners.
“They’ve introduced us to former heads in the automotive industry, he said, noting that one was a previous president of a major truck manufacturer. “We’re a technology company, but we also have trucking operations within our company and those kind of connections are incredibly valuable to us.”