The story of Champel Capital is the story of two friends, Arié Benguigui and Amir Weitmann.
Their friendship dates all the way back to 1978 when Arié and Amir were both three-year-olds in the same nursery in Geneva, Switzerland.
Throughout the years, they remained best friends. Even when Amir moved to Israel in 1998, they kept in touch on a regular basis. At Arié’s wedding in 2016, Amir was his best man.
Already years beforehand, they’d begun to speak of joining forces to create a Venture Capital business in Israel, the Start-Up Nation. In 2017, the time was ripe. Amir then left his position as a senior investment advisor at Bank Hapoalim to join Arié in creating Champel Capital to invest in Israeli technology start-ups.
Initially, the two founders invested their own capital in 12 companies. The result: a very successful venture, by any measure. To date, they have seen two exits from their investments, Smartap and Lemonade, and other companies in the portfolio are doing quite well indeed.
Success breeds more success, and friends and family soon requested to join. A Cayman deal-by-deal fund was opened in 2019, where LPs can opt to invest directly in specific companies through SPVs. This enables the luxury to pick and choose a precise investment, thereby fully maintaining the power of decision on every single deal, both in terms of ticket size and whether to add money on each subsequent round. Innoviz, the first investment within this format, was executed in early January 2020. It is already a resounding success, due to exit via a SPAC in March 2021 at a valuation of 1.4 billion USD.
The next step was naturally to set up a more classical VC Fund, doing what Champel Capital does best: investing in the best Israeli entrepreneurs, and surrounding itself with the top professionals. We are now in the process of fundraising, and targeting a USD 200 million fund.
Champel Capital’s main investment themes will be in the Foodtech/Agritech sectors (25% of the fund), Deep healthcare technologies (25% of the fund), Software, Mobility, AI, Edtech, Fintech and IoT. Our fund will be impact investing, compliant with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the UN.
We have proudly created a Tier One team with a world-class advisory board, including Eyal Waldman, the co-founder and former CEO of Mellanox; Prof. Raoul Bino, world-renowned Agrifood specialist; Eyal Orion, a leading Israeli Medtech entrepreneur; Omer Moav a noted Israeli economist, Leehe Skuler, an Impact investing specialist, and the best and most eminent Israeli tech marketer, Hillel Fuld.