Maniv Mobility LP, the first Israel-based venture fund dedicated exclusively to mobility technologies, announced on Wednesday that it has raised its first fund – in excess of $40 million.
An affiliated of Maniv Investments, the Tel Aviv-based Maniv Mobility invests primarily at companies’ seed and Series A stages and already boasts a portfolio of 15 start-ups, predominantly in Israel, with some in the US. Among Maniv’s limited partners are Jerusalem-based equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, Jaguar Land Rover subsidiary InMotion Ventures and the $14 billion French Tier One supplier, Valeo, as well as hedge funds and family offices.
“The move in locomotion from gasoline to electric, while being a crucial step, I now realize will also someday be seen as an historical footnote,” said Maniv founder Michael Granoff. “The true headline of the coming era in transportation is the switch from manual vehicles to automated ones. Automated vehicles will be electric – breaking oil’s stranglehold and giving us cleaner air. But these vehicles will do so much more: save lives and time through accident avoidance; expand mobility to the young, the old, the infirm; allow us to reclaim precious real estate from idle vehicles; and more.”
Granoff has been involved in the transportation-technology sector for nearly 15 years, beginning with a role in the establishment of Securing America’s Energy Future, an energy security policy group based in Washington.
He was also a participant in the Israeli electric-vehicle and infrastructure start-up Better Place, which raised nearly a billion dollars before closing its doors in 2013.
In harnessing $40m., Maniv has achieved double its target, during an era in which the global automotive industry is increasingly looking to Israel for technological building blocks.
“Some hugely promising businesses are being built in Israel, so expanding our reach here has been an important objective,” InMotion Ventures managing director Sebastian Peck said. “InMotion’s mission is to support the best mobility start-ups all over the world, and this partnership with Maniv will form an integral part of that.”
OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved likewise stressed the crowdfunding platform’s enthusiasm to become a major investor in Maniv.
“Now that Israel is recognized as a world leader in this sector, there will increased global attention to Maniv’s portfolio companies, many of whom are already pioneers in emerging new technologies, ranging from automotive data to advanced sensors, simulation to robotics, and automotive security to inter-vehicle communication,” he said.
The companies already in the Maniv portfolio are Autotalks, Cognata, Drive.ai, Guardian Optical Technologies, Intuition Robotics, Nauto, Nexar, Oryx Vision, Otonomo, Ridecell, Righthand Robotics, Turo, Upstream Security and two other firms.
Three founders or CEOs of portfolio companies have requested to become limited partners in the new fund, a statement from Maniv said.
“In this sector, we see both a tremendous opportunity to deliver outsized returns to our investors, and a unique chance to help companies make transportation safer, cleaner, more efficient, less expensive and much more versatile,” Granoff said.
Describing internationally known Israeli mobility giants Waze and Mobileye as just “the tip of the iceberg,” Granoff expressed confidence that several Maniv portfolio companies – like Cognata, Upstream Security and Oryx Vision – would soon be “on their heels.” Respectively, these three start-ups focus on 3D-simulation engines to validate autonomous systems, cloud-based cybersecurity for vehicle fleets and lower cost, superior range vision sensors.
“All three are in Israel and all three are in our portfolio,” Granoff said. “We’re seeking out the companies that are creating technologies that will accelerate the arrival of our autonomous future but that have sustainable businesses, even if that future takes several years to materialize.”