SoftBank Hires Former Mossad Director As Vision Fund Looks To Expand Investment In Israeli Cybersecurity Names

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Aug 26, 2021 - 06:30 PM

As SoftBank's Vision Fund considers investing further in Israel's cybersecurity startups, the investment bank has hired a former Mossad Chief to help as an advisor.

SoftBank hired Yossi Cohen, former director of the Mossad, as an advisor, Nikkei reported this week. The bank is "counting on Cohen's extensive connections cultivated through his years leading the intelligence agency to identify promising technology companies".

Many of Israel's new cybersecurity startups have ties to former military members.

The turn toward Israel comes after many holdings in Chinese listed companies for the Vision Fund have plunged amidst a historic regulatory crackdown by the Chinese Communist Party.  

The Tokyo based SoftBank also hopes to leverage Cohen's experience in the Middle East as it seeks out more investors. 

The fund has already started investing in Israel, investing in IoT startup Wiliot, who makes sensor tags that " run on radio frequency energy from their surroundings instead of batteries". The product has already been shipped for use in sectors like pharmaceuticals and retail logistics, the report notes.

Another company to garner investment from the Vision Fund is AnyVision, which develops AI based facial recognition technology. 

Wiliot raised $200 million from SoftBank and AnyVision raised $235 million.


The Vision Fund has also considered buying an investment in eToro when it goes public on the NASDAQ this year via SPAC. 

The fund is coming off of a major $4 billion paper loss on its investment in Chinese ride sharing company Didi after the Chinese government opened regulatory probes into the name just days after its U.S. listed initial public offering. 

Israel has become a hotbed of new startup cybersecurity companies launched by former military members. The country's dive into auto technology, with companies like Mobileye, has also spurred investment from automakers.