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Blackstone will focus on investing in mature, growth-stage companies, and won’t be competing with local venture capital funds.

Tel Aviv, NFAPost: Blackstone, one of the world’s largest investment firms, is setting up an office in Israel.

Former LeumiTech CEO Yifat Oron will be senior managing director and head of the firm’s new office in Tel Aviv, the company, which has $649 billion in assets under management, said Sunday in a press release.

Former ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman, who has served as Blackstone’s senior adviser in Israel since 2013, said Blackstone’s decision is a big vote of confidence in Israel by the world’s largest asset manager.

“We see Israel as a very exciting and promising hub of opportunity,” said Dan Gillman.

Tech investment

Oron will lead Blackstone’s growth and tech investments in Israel for its $4.5b. Blackstone Growth fund, the firm’s growth equity business, and assist with other investing efforts across the firm. She has more than 20 years of experience as a tech investor and executive in Israel, with leadership roles in venture capital, banking and consulting, Blackstone said.

Dan Gillerman will become chairman of Blackstone Israel and continue to serve as an adviser.

Until now, Blackstone has had only a few relatively small investments in Israel, it said. Last summer, the company participated in a $25 million funding round for cybersecurity validation company Pcysys.

The new Israeli office will give the firm a much stronger presence here, and Gillerman said he was confident that several local investments would be made in the near future.

Venture-capital

Blackstone will focus on investing in mature, growth-stage companies and will not be competing with local venture-capital funds, Gillerman said.

Yifat Oron said he is thrilled to join Blackstone and lead the firm’s growth investments in Israel.

“The breadth of what Blackstone can deliver to entrepreneurs in terms of capital and operating expertise is truly world-class. I’m excited to help fast-growing companies in Israel become global leaders through Blackstone’s resources and global network,” said Yifat Oron.

Blackstone chairman, CEO and co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman said the company is increasingly focused on investing in fast-growing sectors, such as technology, life sciences and the digital economy.

Joint venture 

“Israel is one of the most promising markets in the world in these areas, and Yifat is the perfect choice to scale our firm’s presence and investments there,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman.

There had been talk of Blackstone developing an Israeli presence in the past, including talks in 2012 of a joint venture with Israel’s Blackstone Group. However, those never materialized.

Blackstone Growth Global Head Jon Korngold said Blackstone the company is a big believer in Israel, which is one of the most dynamic and innovative markets in the world.

“I’m delighted to welcome Yifat, an outstanding technology executive and leader, to help us bring the full power of the Blackstone platform and our resources to the country’s entrepreneurs,” said Jon Korngold.

Banking platform

Prior to serving as the CEO of Bank Leumi’s technology banking platform, Oron spent most of her career as a partner at Vertex Venture Capital, where she invested in and served as a board member of companies across the tech ecosystem.

Before that, she was a technology investment-banking associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York and spent three years at the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of R&D, where she achieved the rank of lieutenant in the Economics, Budget and Control Department. She has an MBA from Tel Aviv University and a BSc in economics and management from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

(The story is based on Jerusalem Post news article)

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