Yair Goldfinger can't stand the press. He consistently turns down requests for interviews, but the man gets publicity, against his will, every time he scores another business hit.
Among Goldfinger's many claims to fame are the co-founding of Mirabilis, the startup that developed the ICQ instant messaging program. America Online bought the company for $407 million in 1988. Goldfinger's partners in Mirabilis included another famed serial entrepreneur, Yossi Vardi, who unlike the younger colleague, does talk with the press.
ICQ was the pioneer of online chatting. It revolutionized the way people communicated over Internet.
Over the past decade Goldfinger has racked up no less than nine exits. This year alone he had three. The last one was in August, the sale of Dotomi to ValueClick for $295 million.
During 2011 two more companies in which he had invested were sold: Getty Images bought PicScout for $20 million and Ybrant bought PicApp for a million dollars in cash.
Besides selling Dotomi and Mirabilis, Goldfinger made another big exit in 2009; he was partner to the sale of Israeli startup Jajah to Telefonica for $207 million.
The sale of Dotomi, where Goldfinger was the chief technical officer, made him again one of the dominant angels active in Israel. His success derives mainly from his ability to spot quality entrepreneurs and work with them on an idea until it's implemented.
Goldfinger is the kind of angel whose added value is providing "smart money": His insights and technological suggestions are valuable. His contribution contrasts with hundreds of financial angels active in Israel.
It's hard to know whether 2012 will see another Goldfinger exit.
What's sure is that he will continue to operate under the radar, will be involved in various initiatives connected with the Israeli startup scene, will help young entrepreneurs, will invest in companies and perhaps will enjoy yet another exit. Some say he might establish a new startup.
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