August 22, 2019

Fusion Labs L.A’s Spring Cohort of Israeli Startups

Fusion LA Partners (from left) Yair Vardi, Simon Legziel and Guy Katsovich.Photo by Moshe Levis Photography

Founders of seven Israeli startups attended a reception at SPACES in Santa Monica earlier this month, part of Fusion Labs L.A.’s spring session. Some were looking for partners, others for investors.

Los Angeles-based Fusion founders Yair Vardi and Guy Katsovich hosted the fourth annual event and were joined by Simon Legziel, their Israeli-based venture partner. Part of the value of the program is to help Israeli companies understand how United States enterprises and consumers work, CloudBeat CEO Nachum Dimer told the Journal. 

“Fusion LA helps connect us to the right people,” he said. “What’s amazing to see [in the United States] is if you bring value, the customer will pay. The most important part of what we learn [is] to find if the product and market fit and to be able to explain the value of your product to the customers.”

Dimer’s company is a testing and monitoring platform that helps companies release software with better quality and speed.

Alon Ascher, COO of Aduptiv, which uses online tools to help brick-and-mortar stores succeed, told the Journal the showcase event that enables each company to highlight its product is a major draw.

“We worked so hard. You come here, meet great people and tell them what you do. And when you see them excited about it, it’s very satisfying.” — Alon Ascher

“We worked so hard,” he said. “You come here, meet great people and tell them what you do. And when you see them excited about it, it’s very satisfying.”

Attendees included more than 100 Silicon Beach investors, local executives and business leaders. Also in attendance were alums of the program, including founders who have relocated to Los Angeles in the past year: Liron Brish, CEO of Farm Dog; Liat Sade-Sternberg, CEO of Fuse.It; Avi Price, founder of Uniper Care Technologies; and Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of Quarterback.

“This event is special because we have five alumni in the audience that have raised money and relocated to Los Angeles,” Vardi told the Journal. “Over the past 18 months, we’ve invested in 27 companies that have raised more than $40 million in total. We’re fortunate to have a supportive community of local entrepreneurs and investors that mentor our companies and help them succeed in the U.S. market.”

Katsovich added, “The companies arrived in Santa Monica in early February and worked tirelessly on their go-to-market strategy in the U.S. We’re excited to share that a few of the companies received funding offers from American investors during this short period of time.”

The spring cohort, chosen from 300 applicants, includes (a customer support platform) and Legal Automation (artificial intelligence that performs repetitive tasks for insurance and law firms), which along with Aduptiv and CloudBeat, are pre-seed. The other three, ArcusTeam (cyber offensive testing and monitoring), Renovai (automated interior design) and ShapeShift Gaming  (e-sports and gaming database), have all already secured some funding. 

“We are really proud of the progress [our companies] all made during the program, acquiring U.S. clients and engaging with local investors and advisers,” Vardi continued.

Carmit Yadin CEO of ArcusTeam said, “We did the market validation with market leaders, like Motorola, LG and IBM, and they liked our technology. We are here looking to engage with manufacturers of connected devices here in California.”

Alon Chelben, vice president of product for Renovai said, “Everything here is much more stylish. I love beautiful places. I love good food and I love good taste, so this is a city I feel is very connected to me and to the product.”

The next batch of six to eight companies will arrive in Los Angeles in September for the fifth Fusion Labs cohort.