Less than a year after retiring from basketball, a career highlight as the first Israeli player to break into the NBA, Omri Casspi is stepping into the high-tech investment court with a new capital fund – risk of 50 million dollars.
Called Sheva (seven in Hebrew), the fund is co-founded by Omri Casspi and David Citron, a longtime venture capitalist and Israeli partner at Global Founders Capital, a San Francisco-based investment firm that has backed Slack, Facebook, Canva and LinkedIn, among others. Global Founders Capital’s Israeli portfolio includes Dynamic Yield, sold to McDonald’s in 2019, then to Mastercard last year, and Next Insurance.
In the past, Casspi has backed companies such as DocuSign and Israeli health-tech company DayTwo as an angel investor, according to its announcement on Monday.
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Casspi’s new fund will focus on pre-seed and seed investments in start-ups, as well as “opportunistic Series A” rounds, according to the announcement.
The fund intends to invest approximately $1-2 million each in 20 companies, and since its launch earlier this year, the fund has already made a number of investments in companies focused on fintech, cybersecurity and Web3 companies. The latter is an emerging industry of online ecosystems based on blockchain technology and digital currencies.
Backers include institutional investors, family offices, technology entrepreneurs and “very active cross-functional funds”, according to the statement.
Citron said he and Casspi first connected on LinkedIn and “hit it off immediately,” later co-investing in a number of early-stage startups.
“Our understanding was such that the companies in our joint portfolio suggested that we team up during our weekly calls. We were already considering the feasibility of creating a fund, but hearing it more than once from founders gave us a concrete indication of product-market compatibility, so we decided to take the plunge. and launch Sheva,” he described in his announcement.
“We combine two venture capital models that have proven successful around the world: the matchmaking between celebrities and veteran venture capitalists and a seed investment model that focuses on investing in as many people as possible. possible early-stage ventures, then on emerging winners in collaboration with LPs [commanditaires]. We believe limited partners should be much more involved in the portfolio investment process, and our investors are very keen to participate in direct investment opportunities with us,” he added.
Casspi, 33, said he and Citron “have very little overlap in the value we bring to our portfolio, which we believe is a significant force multiplier.”
The Israeli basketball star noted that Sheva’s investors include “celebrities, influencers, unicorn founders, angel investors and GPs alike.” [partenaires généraux] prosperous”.
During his 10-year NBA career, Casspi played for the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Golden State Warriors.
Casspi was dropped from the Warriors’ roster in the 2018 playoffs, which saw the team win the NBA Finals, but he later received a championship ring.
In his final two seasons before his retirement, Casspi returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv – where he got his start before being selected in the 2009 NBA Draft.