SNÉ has closed a $2.5 million financing round from Arieli Capital, a venture capital fund founded and managed by Eric (Ariel) Bentov. This is the first significant external financing round by SNÉ, which was selected by the Council of Higher Education in Israel (CHE) as the exclusive provider of intellectual property commercialization services for all Israeli government-funded colleges, hospitals and research institutions.
SNÉ offers a direct and accelerated route to the commercialization of intellectual property. Through the use of a unique end-to-end customer-centric IP commercialization and business development process, SNÉ’s services save time and effort in the establishment of a commercialization center for promising inventions, providing research institutes with a proven and efficient solution.
SNÉ is closely cooperating with Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art; Afeka Academic College of Engineering; Hadassah Academic College; Jerusalem College of Technology – Lev Academic Center; ORT Braude; Medical Center of the Galilee and Ruppin Academic Center. SNÉ engages in discovering knowledge with commercialization potential in a range of fields, including biotechnology, medical devices, software, industrial design, cleantech, agriculture and water technologies.
SNÉ is based in Ramat Yishay and has 25 employees. It was founded in 2014 by Omri Raisman, Gerardo Nahum, Dr. Shai Yarkoni, and Adv. Amos Konforti. The company won an eight-year government tender (with an option to extend for four more years), published by the Council of Higher Education, to establish a company to encourage the commercialization of know-how and intellectual property at colleges, hospitals and research institutes. The goals of the initiative were to expand the colleges’ sources of revenue and improve the innovation and competitiveness of Israeli industry. As part of the tender’s terms, the Council of Higher Education has allocated NIS 26 million to support this activity.
In 2015, Avi Ben-Zichri, who has held numerous senior positions in high tech over the past 20 years, was appointed CEO of SNÉ. In the late 1990, Avi served as Vice President of Development at Siemens Data Communications, and following that as Vice President of Development at Oplus, which was sold to Intel for $100 million in 2005. He then served as COO Israel at NeuStar, an American company that acquired the Israeli start-up FollowApp in 2006. In 2011-2014, Ben-Zichri returned to Intel, serving among other roles as a project manager in Intel’s RealSense 3D camera project.
“We intend to use the capital we have raised to increase the number of institutions SNÉ works with in the coming years. We also plan to advance and develop current products, expand our portfolio of new products and prepare them for commercialization,” said Ben Zichri. ”Along with this, we will invest in engineering and field tests, and continue to develop business relations with Fortune 1,000 and investment funds in Israel, North America and globally.”
Eric (Ariel) Bentov, Chairman of Ariel Capital, said: “We chose to invest in SNÉ as we believe in the marketing potential of the company and in the capability of its management team. SNÉ is capable of providing the industry with an ongoing stream of proven business ideas from academic and research institutions from all over Israel. Beyond the financial investment, we intend to put our IP enhancement, marketing and business development capabilities at the disposal of SNÉ, while emphasizing the thorough testing of each technology’s marketing potential.”
Arieli Capital, which is in the process of being established, is a new venture fund that is focused on the Israeli technology sector. Arieli seeks to invest at the earliest stages and then continue to invest in the company through both the provision of financial resources and active involvement in the commercial growth of the venture. Arieli’s management and Advisory Board includes Samsung Electronic’s former CMO North America, successful tech entrepreneurs, investment bankers and corporate leaders. Arieli’s founder, Eric Bentov, established the Eilat Hub. Arieli is actively working to develop ventures in the Eilat region and across Israel.