RUNI Ventures, Reichman University’s venture capital fund, announced its first fund close, raising $30 million. The announcement comes just five months after the fund was established to provide direct access to the many investments that grow each year in a variety of entrepreneurship programs, innovation labs and accelerators active on campus. The importance of the first closing is that a significant part of the desired amount has been collected and the fund can start using the money for investment.
The university itself will not invest, but will act as a general partner (GP), charging a 2% management fee and a 20% success fee, as is customary in the venture capital industry. Although the university is not-for-profit, profits from the fund are to flow into an endowment fund, modeled after wealthy American universities that manage billions of dollars in endowments. “Our deal flow looks great,” said Heela Ram, partner and CEO of RUNI Ventures. “It’s a good sign that in times of crisis, stronger and more focused companies are emerging here, so this is a good time to invest in It’s the early stages.” .
RUNI Ventures will invest in startup companies at the Pre-Seed stage and will operate in a unique model, according to which, in addition to investing about half a million dollars in each project, its portfolio companies will receive tools specifically for the early stages. The life of a project of these tools includes a co-working space in Herzliya, placement of outstanding students as interns or employees, advice from academics and industry experts, as well as an ecosystem of university graduates where there are many high-tech entrepreneurs.
Despite its young age, the university was recently ranked seventh in the world among similarly sized universities and 38th among all universities in the number of ventures founded by alumni, according to Pitchbook. The university hopes to benefit from the success of its graduates in the high-tech sector. Reichman alumni have founded more than 300 startups over the past two decades, raising a total of $4.8 billion. About 14 of those startups became unicorns, and some went public on Wall Street, such as Similarweb, monday.com, Hippo and ironSource. Unicorns founded by Reichman alumni include Melio, Bizzabo, and HoneyBook.
The university revealed that a third of startups were already founded by students during their studies or within two years of graduating, and almost half of entrepreneurs met their partners at university. Because of this, the university can access these startups much earlier, sometimes even before they enter the venture capital market.
This fund is launched as part of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship in Reichman and is the brainchild of the Dean of the School, Dr. Yossi Maravi. Professor Yair Tauman, the founding dean of the faculty and one of the most active angel investors in Israel, will chair the investment committee. The fund will be managed by CEO Heela Ram, former CEO of MAKERS – Venture Builders, and founder and CEO of agtech incubator Yakhin Impact.
Reichman will be the second university to launch such a fund in Israel, joining Tel Aviv University’s TAU Ventures, which was founded five years ago.