Over the last month, I’ve been asked by many people how the Israeli companies we work with are doing. I tell them that everyone in Israel has been impacted in some way by the war, some more than others. But I also tell them the message that Israeli founders keep asking me to pass on: As much as they may be hurting emotionally, and while they may be short staffed due to employees being called up by the military, the Israeli tech community is open for business. Employees of companies that are short staffed due to military deployments are pitching in to make sure products still work and customer deliveries happen. The rallying cry of the startup community has become, “Israeli tech delivers, no matter what!”
It’s with that backdrop that we share this past week’s two proof points: Palo Alto is acquiring two of our portfolio companies, Dig and Talon, for a combined value of nearly $1 billion. It’s quite a week for our young fund. Either of these exits on its own would be amazing news, but two of them so close together serves as proof of just how resilient Israeli businesses are.
To be fair, neither of these companies is ordinary. Both have exceptional founders who have built and sold businesses before. Both run their companies with remarkable discipline. And each of the founders has a drive that is hard to keep up with.
Dig was an early test of our vetting model, discussing startups we were considering with our network of US cybersecurity leaders to get their feedback. We had around 40 of our advisors on our call that day, and as we discussed a few companies it was quite clear that the excitement was around Dig. Over a quarter of the people on the call asked for an intro to the company, and that conversation became a big driver in our decision to invest. Seeing CEO Dan Benjamin and the rest of the team operate over the last year and a half has been a lesson in how to run a company.
Talon was not the first enterprise browser company we spoke to, and frankly we spent a lot of time prior to meeting with Talon trying to understand why this market even existed. But sitting with Ofer and hearing directly from him why he had built this company made it click. It didn’t hurt that most of the CISOs we talked about it with were in love with the concept. Once we understood why we needed an enterprise browser, deciding that Talon was the one to invest in was not a hard decision, given their vision, their team and their founders.
Notably, Talon’s acquisition marks the third exit for Merlin Ventures Israeli portfolio companies in just the last six months – joining Dig and Enso. Our congratulations to these founders and each member of their remarkable teams!
The Israeli tech community remains resilient even in the face of conflict and adversity, and it is inspiring to us see how they have taken up the rallying cry of “Israeli tech delivers, no matter what.”