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YL Ventures, a 12-year-old, Mill Valley, Ca-based, seed-stage venture firm that invests narrowly in Israeli cybersecurity startups, just closed its fourth fund with $120 million in capital commitments, bringing the total capital it now manages to $260 million.
It’s an interesting firm in numerous ways that set it apart from many of its similar-size peers. Most meaningfully, though it backs founders at the earliest stages, it doesn’t spread its bets as do many seed-stage outfits, instead funding just two to three teams each year. That means it will spread its newest fund across an estimated 10 companies.
Approach - Ventures - Shareholder - Container - Security
It’s a concentrated approach, and one that seems very much to be working. YL Ventures was the biggest shareholder in the container security startup Twistlock, for example, which sold to Palo Alto Networks last month for $410 million. Twistlock had raised $63 million altogether. YL Ventures wrote the company a $2 million check to start, then invested another $10 million over its four-year run as an independent company.
YL Ventures was also the biggest outside shareholder in Hexadite, an Israeli startup that used AI to identify and protect against attacks and that sold two years ago to Microsoft for a reported $100 million.
Bet - Orca - Security - Startup - Check
A more recent bet is on Orca Security, an Israeli startup led by two former Check Point Security executives that’s trying to solve the problem of securing applications in the cloud without an agent. Orca recently announced a $6.5 million seed round led by YL Ventures; what wasn’t reported at the time was just how much YL Ventures invested: $6.1 million.
Worth noting: almost all of founders in YL Ventures’s portfolio have not only served in the Israel Defense Forces but specifically within its 8200 Unit, an elite part of the organization that has become the training ground for some of the buzziest cybersecurity companies...
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