Sign up for our Middle East newsletter and follow us @middleeast for news on the region.
Blackstone Group Inc. is expanding its growth-investing business with a new office in Israel, which has long been a hotbed for young science and technology companies.
To head the Tel Aviv outpost, the world’s largest alternative asset manager hired Yifat Oron, former chief executive officer of technology banking platform LeumiTech. Blackstone already has offices focused on growth equity in New York, San Francisco and London.
The growth business, led by Jon Korngold, has invested in companies including dating app Bumble, health-care technology firm HealthEdge and ISN Software Corp. In Israel, the group hopes to build a local presence that would give it access to entrepreneurs focused on cybersecurity, the cloud, payments or food technology.
“There is so much innovation coming out of Israel,” Korngold said in an interview. “We want to help these companies pursue a real global expansion with our massive base of resources.”
Dan Gillerman, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, will become chairman of Blackstone Israel. He has been a senior adviser to Blackstone since 2013 and will continue to advise the firm and the Israel-based team.
Oron, who will lead the investing effort, will join Blackstone as a senior managing director and be involved with investing across the firm. She spent most of her career as a partner at Israel-based Vertex Venture Capital, where she invested in and sat on boards of companies across the tech landscape. She also was a technology investment banking associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. She spent three years at the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
“Israel is moving from a startup nation to a scale-up nation,” Oron said. “We used to grow highly tech-intensive businesses that were sold early in their life-cycles. This era is now defined by tech-enabled businesses now having the opportunity to tap into much larger global markets and to develop into full-scale companies over an extended time horizon.”