An Unexpected Winner in the Waze Exit: A Not-for-profit Israeli Fund

Founded in attempt to entice the high-tech community to get more involved in Israeli non-profits, the Tmura fund is slated to receive $1.5 million from Waze's sale to Google.

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The enormous exit for Waze, the Israeli navigation app start-up sold to Google for $1.03 billion, has created long list of new millionaires - including the company's management. Founder Ehud Shabtai, who is also the chief technology officer, will receive $63 million. Amir Shinar, founder and head of research and development, will receive $51 million. Uri Levine, founder and president, will receive $30 million.

One of those profiting is a bit unusual in high tech-terms: Tmura - The Israeli Public Service Venture Fund, founded by Yadin Kaufmann.

Tmura is a not-for-profit foundation founded in 2002 to increase the involvement of the high-tech community in non-profit activity in Israel, with a focus on education and other youth-related initiatives. Tmura is expected to receive $1.5 million.

The fund receives shares in Israeli startups that choose to participate in the Tmura's charitable activities in the community. This will be Tmura's largest exit ever.

So far the foundation has received some $30 million from exercising options in various companies, and so far 273 Israeli companies have joined the program.

Since its founding a decade ago, Tmura has operated based on a unique model. The fund receives equity in young companies, shares or options, and profits when they are sold or issue shares on the stock market. The money received is used to support educational and social welfare programs for young people in Israel, by contributing to over 100 domestic non-profit organizations and charities. It also operates matching grants programs and manages corporate foundations.

"Tmura is the Hebrew word for change or metamorphosis and also means value for money; it is also a play on the word truma", which means donation," writes the organization on its website.

Half a year ago the foundation reported it had made over $400,000 from the sale of Intucell to Cisco for $475 million. This money was given to a number of organizations: Amichai, which helps integrate into the community people with developmental disabilities; Knafayim Shel Krembo, a national youth movement for children with special needs; and ELIYA, an organization that runs programs for blind and visually impaired children and their families throughout Israel.

Waze is owned by a group of local and foreign investors, including the Israeli venture capital funds Magma and Vertex. Chinese investor Li Ka Shing invested $30 million in the company via Horizon Ventures in October 2011. Other investors include the U.S. venture capital funds Kleiner Perkins and Blue Run Ventures as well as the U.S. tech companies Microsoft and Qualcomm.

Altogether some $67 million has been invested in the company since it was established in 2008.

Tmura Fund founder Yadin Kaufmann and the Waze logo.Credit: Dan Kenan and courtsey

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