Yadin Kaufmann

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Yadin B. Kaufmann (Hebrew: ידין קאופמן‎; born July 31, 1959) is an Israeli-American technology investor, social entrepreneur and writer.[1] Kaufmann has played a key role in Israel’s venture capital scene since the “Startup Nation’s” tech boom began in the 1980s [2][3][4][5][6] and, more recently, has been involved in efforts to create a Palestinian tech industry.[7][4][8]

Kaufmann co-founded two venture capital firms: Veritas Venture Partners, an Israel-based fund investing in early-stage tech startups,[2][4] and Sadara Ventures, the first venture capital fund to target Palestinian tech companies.[4][3] He also founded two non-profit organizations: Tmura, an Israeli fund that connects the high-tech community to philanthropy in Israel,[9][10] and the Palestinian Internship Program, which arranges work opportunities for young Palestinian professionals at Israel-based tech and finance companies.[11][12][8][7]

In 2011, Israeli financial magazine, The Marker, named Kaufmann to its list of the 100 most influential people in the Israeli economy.[13][6] In 2017, Foreign Policy magazine named Kaufmann one of its “Global Thinkers”, a list of "the world's pre-eminent thought leaders and public intellectuals."[1][14][7]

Venture capital career[edit]

Venture Capital in Israel[edit]

In 1987, Kaufmann joined Athena Venture Partners, Israel’s first venture capital fund, just as the “Start-Up Nation” was beginning to develop.[15][16]

In 1990, Kaufmann co-founded, with Gideon Tolkowsky, Veritas Venture Partners, an early-stage investor in Israeli technology-based companies.[17][2]

Athena and Veritas led seed-stage (and subsequent) financing rounds in numerous Israeli companies, including Mercury Interactive Corp. (Nasdaq: MERQ, later acquired by HP); Electronics for Imaging (Nasdaq: EFII), Gilat Satellite Networks (Nasdaq: GILT), Class Data Systems (acquired by Cisco), M-Systems (Nasdaq: MSYS, later acquired by SanDisk), ESC Medical Systems (Nasdaq: ESCMF, later acquired by Lumenis), and others.[2][5][6][4]

Venture Capital in the Palestinian Territories[edit]

Kaufmann has launched several initiatives aimed at helping to develop a "technology ecosystem" in the Palestinian Territories. He has asserted that his intentions for investing in the Palestinian Territories are to improve Palestinian economy and to increase the chances of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.[18]

In 2008, Kaufmann partnered with Palestinian tech entrepreneur Saed Nashef and began building the first-ever venture capital fund to target Palestinian tech startups.[18][7][4] Despite the backdrop of a global financial crisis and recurring political hostilities in the region, Kaufmann and Nashef raised a $30 million fund from investors including the Soros Economic Development Fund, AOL founder Steve Case’s Case Foundation, former eBay President Jeff Skoll’s Skoll Foundation, Google Foundation, Cisco and the European Investment Bank.[19][20][21][22][3][23]

Sadara Ventures was formally launched in 2011 in Ramallah at an event including the then-Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.[24][25]

Since making Palestine’s first-ever VC investment in Yamsafer, an online accommodation booking platform, in 2012,[23][4] Sadara has invested in a total of six startups in the Palestinian Territories.[19][7]

US President Barack Obama referred to Kaufmann’s partnership with Saed Nashef in his March 2013 speech in Jerusalem.[26]

Non-profit activity[edit]

Tmura - The Israeli Public Service Venture Fund[edit]

In 2002, Kaufmann founded “Tmura - The Israeli Public Service Venture Fund.”[10][9][5] Tmura receives donations of equity from Israeli and Israel-related high-tech companies and, upon a liquidity event such as an acquisition or initial public offering, allocates the proceeds to education- and youth-related charities in Israel.[27]

Tmura has received options donations from more than 500 companies and has raised over $16.5 million for the causes that it supports.[9][1]

The Palestinian Internship Program[edit]

In 2014, Kaufmann founded the Palestinian Internship Program (PIP)[2], a US-registered non-profit that arranges work experiences and other professional development activities for highly talented Palestinian graduates from the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the Israeli high-tech sector.[11][12][8]

As of early 2018, PIP has enabled 40 young Palestinian professionals to work at 25 Israel-based companies including Intel, HP Indigo and Thomson Reuters, as well as a number of startups and VC funds.[28]

Breaking the Impasse[edit]

Kaufmann is a member of Breaking the Impasse (BTI), a World Economic Forum (WEF)-backed advocacy group of Palestinian and Israeli businesspeople (founded by Palestinian businessman Munib al-Masri and Israeli high-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi) lobbying political leaders to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.[29][30]

Kaufmann has spoken on behalf of BTI at high-profile WEF-sponsored events including at the group's launch event at the Dead Sea, Jordan in 2013[31][29] and at Davos, Switzerland in 2014.[30]

Writing and public speaking[edit]

In 1978, Kaufmann and his then-girlfriend (now wife), Lori Banov Kaufmann wrote Summer ’79 in France.[32] Kaufmann then wrote Boston Ice Cream Lover’s Guide,[33] which was published by Addison-Wesley in 1985.[34][35]

In 2004, Kaufmann co-founded (with Mark Bernstein) Hundreds of Heads Books to publish a series of books that help people through life’s biggest challenges, based on advice and entertaining experiences collected from hundreds of people across the US who have "been there, done that".[36] Their best-selling book How to Survive Your Freshman Year[37] is in its 5th edition.[34]

Kaufmann has written op-ed articles about his professional activities, especially relating to the role Israel can play in promoting Palestinian private sector technology-related enterprise. In 2017, he wrote a feature article in Foreign Affairs entitled, “Start-Up Palestine: How to Spark a West Bank Tech Boom.”[22] He has also published articles in the Times of Israel [38] and Haaretz.[39] When studying a J.D. at Harvard Law School,[15] Kaufmann was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.[40][6]

He has spoken at forums including TEDx Rome,[41] StartupGrind Ramallah,[42] Seeds of Peace,[43] American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)[44] and DLD Tel Aviv.[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dubin, Rhys. "FP's 2017 Global Thinkers: Yadin Kaufmann". FP's 2017 Global Thinkers. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  2. ^ a b c d Bashan, Tsafrir (16 September 2001). "Athena from 1985, and Veritas from 1990; Gideon Tolkowsky and his partner Yadin Kaufman are the "elders of the Israeli VC tribe"". Globes (English). Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Israeli-Palestinian duo opens West Bank VC fund". Ynetnews. 2011-09-04. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Hamdan, Sara (16 April 2012). "Early Investors See Promise in Palestinian Start-Ups". New York Times. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Yadin Kaufmann - Founding Partner @ Veritas Venture Partners | Crunchbase". Crunchbase. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  6. ^ a b c d "Bloomberg: Yadin Kaufmann Profile". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e Schindler, Max (19 January 2018). "Helping the Palestinians set up their own Start-Up Nation". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Lieber, Dov (3 March 2017). "Can Startup Nation be an incubator for Palestinian high-tech entrepreneurs?". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Tmura: A model angel for VC's and Angels". Geektime. 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  10. ^ a b "Ex-New Yorker's Philanthropic VC Does Good by Doing Well". Haaretz. 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  11. ^ a b Rudee, Eliana (20 October 2014). "Entrepreneurship - The Way To Peace In The Middle East". Forbes. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b "The Program Pairing Israeli Startups With Palestinian Talent". Inc.com. 2014-09-02. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  13. ^ "GCV Israel 2018". Cvent. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  14. ^ "FP's 2017 Global Thinkers". FP's 2017 Global Thinkers. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  15. ^ a b "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained - Harvard Law Today". Harvard Law Today. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  16. ^ "Yadin Kaufmann '80: Building High-Tech Bridges". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  17. ^ "Start-Up Nation Finder - Israeli innovation network". Start-Up Nation Finder. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  18. ^ a b Karol, Gabrielle (2016-03-22). "Obama Praises Palestinian Startup Scene". Fox Business. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  19. ^ a b Baker, Luke (31 March 2017). "In West Bank, a venture capital fund hunts Palestinian tech returns". U.S. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  20. ^ Daniel, Robert (6 April 2011). "Google, Cisco back Palestinian VC fund". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  21. ^ "EIB supports first venture capital fund in Palestinian territories". www.eib.org. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  22. ^ a b Kaufmann, Yadin. "Start-Up Palestine: How to Spark a West Bank Tech Boom". Foreign Affairs. July/August 2017 Issue.
  23. ^ a b Dolan, Kerry A. (18 December 2012). "Billionaire-backed Palestinian VC Fund Sadara Invests In Mobile Job-Matching Firm Souktel". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  24. ^ "Palestinian Economic Bulletin, Issue 55 (April 2011)" (PDF). The Portland Trust.
  25. ^ "Excerpt of Prime Minister Fayyad speech at Sadara Ventures Launch". YouTube. 9 Apr 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Obama makes a reference to Sadara Ventures in Jerusalem speech". YouTube. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Tmura offers start ups a philanthropic option - Globes". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  28. ^ "Palestinian Internship Program 2018 Impact Report". Accessed via Palestinian Internship Program webite (www.palinternship.com). Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  29. ^ a b Avriel, Eytan (2013-05-27). "Israeli, Palestinian Business Leaders Call for Two-state Solution". Haaretz. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  30. ^ a b Ben-Israel, Adi (23 January 2014). "A peace agreement can solve our economic woes". Globes. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  31. ^ "Jordan 2013 - Press Conference Breaking the Impasse". YouTube. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  32. ^ Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 79. Princeton Alumni Weekly. 21 May 1979. p. 7.
  33. ^ Kaufmann, Yadin (1985). The Boston ice cream lover's guide: A heavenly tour of over 55 of the Hub's finest ice cream shops. United States: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0201126907.
  34. ^ a b "Lots of advice: Yadin Kaufmann '80 puts hundreds of heads together". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 19 April 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  35. ^ "Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Mark Bernstein and Yadin Kaufmann". The Writer's Life eMagazine. 4 August 2008. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  36. ^ Vaughn, Emer (29 October 2018). "Students Advise Frosh: Book for freshmen advertised in time for parent's weekend". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  37. ^ Kaufmann, Yadin (2004). How to Survive Your Freshman Year. United States: Hundreds of Heads Books. ISBN 978-1933512617.
  38. ^ Kaufmann, Yadin (18 March 2014). "Getting business invested in social change". Times of Israel. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  39. ^ Kaufmann, Yadin (7 September 2014). "The Economic Case for Peace in the Middle East". Haaretz. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  40. ^ "Harvard Law Review (1983-1984) Editorial Board". HeinOnline. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  41. ^ "Can business make the world a better place? by Yadin Kaufmann at TEDxRoma". YouTube. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  42. ^ "Yadin Kaufmann (Sadara Ventures)". www.startupgrind.com. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  43. ^ "Seeds of Peace at 25: Our GATHER Symposium and 25th Anniversary Benefit - Seeds of Peace". www.seedsofpeace.org. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  44. ^ "2018 AIPAC Conference Speakers". www.policyconference.org. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  45. ^ "Yadin Kaufmann". DLD Conference. Retrieved 2018-08-04.