Economy Minister and entrepreneur Naftali Bennett has made another successful exit, with the sale of Soluto, an Israeli company he once briefly headed, for $130 million. Bennett is expected to pocket several million dollars from the sale.
Soluto is a cloud-based service that enables remote support for personal computers and mobile devices. In 2010, the company won the TechCrunch blog's Disrupt competition. It was sold to an American company on Wednesday.
Bennett, whose personal finances are managed by a trustee, will be able to cash in his options in Soluto following the sale. The minister's bureau refused to comment on the sale and Bennett's windfall. Bennett himself said that he was "happy at the success of an Israeli company."
Bennett served as CEO of Soluto for a period of three months in 2009, at a time when he and partner Lior Golan were engaged in raising funds for startups. The venture capital funds with which they were negotiating at the time knew and respected Bennett and wanted him to be part of the management of the company.
As a result, Bennett replaced co-founder Tomer Dvir as CEO for a period. He left after three months for the position of CEO of the Yesha Council of Settlements.
Soluto sources told Haaretz recently that Bennett left the company on very good terms and that he was well-liked in the company. Yishai Green, the other co-founder, told Haaretz that "we were very happy when he joined us because we wanted to learn from him. The moment he saw that we could manage on our own, he let go. It was due to him that we received the funding."
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Asurion Corp., a U.S. provider of technical support to the wireless phone industry, has snapped up Soluto for $130 million. The Israeli startup will now operate as Asurion's research and development center. The Israeli company has 40 employees and is expected to hire more.
They contacted us about six months ago about a partnership, Soluto CEO Dvir told TheMarker on Wednesday. We discovered that they share our vision, and they have 250 million paying users.
Soluto was founded in 2008 by Dvir and Ishay Green, but Green left last year to found the startup 3pix.
When we founded the company in 2008, the first iPhone had just come out, said Dvir. The arena in which we're active is very different from the one when the company was founded – today everyone has a smartphone and maybe even a tablet. In fact, yesterday was our strongest day in terms of sales.
Dvir says the acquisition by Asurion will help it become a major player in the industry. From our perspective it will let us continue doing what we've been doing but much bigger, Dvir said. "Everything will become more interesting.
Soluto had hitherto raised $20 million from investors, including venture capital funds Giza Venture Capital, Proxima Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Index Ventures, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington's CruchnFund, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors and Initial Capital.
Kevin Taweel, the founder and chairman of Asurion, arrived in Israel Tuesday to sign the deal.