Life Smiles on Walden: Three Exits, Sequel Fund, New Partner

Guy Grimland
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Guy Grimland

Life is good for Walden Israel. The venture capital fund has made three exits in three months, is recruiting pledges for a fourth fund, and means to appoint a new managing partner in the stead of general partner Eyal Kaplan, who will not stay on for the new fund, and Moty Ben-Arie, who jumped ship for Vertex.

The most recent exit was the sale a week ago of Ex-Libris, a tech company specializing in software for libraries, to the Francisco Partners fund of the U.S. for $62 million. Walden Israel had owned 25% of Ex-Libris, in which it had placed $1.8 million at the seed stage, via two funds ? Walden II and Walden III. Its profit from the exit is a handsome $19.4 million.

The second exit was on June 8, 2006, when Walden Israel sold nLayers to EMC for $50 million. Here too the Walden group had invested early on. It and Gemini, another Israeli venture capital fund, each invested $4.5 million and received $16.5 million. The nLayers workers and management received just a little more, $17.5 million. Walden had begun with a $75,000 investment in the startup.

Red Herring gets excited

The first exit was in April this year, when PMC Sierra bought Passave for $300 million. The funds BRM Capital, Walden and Eurofund had invested about $2 million in Passave and owned 18.6% of the startup apiece. Each wound up with $56 million, making their exit multiple more than 20.

The last three exits therefore brought Walden Israel ? in terms of millions of dollars - 19.4 + 16.5 + 56m, or $91.9 million.

Walden Israel has $90 million under management, so these three exits covered the $90 million that the general partners - Roni Hefetz, Noga Kap and Eyal Kaplan - had raised from investors in 2001.

Moreover, Walden Israel has promising exits in its pipeline, for instance, Mellanox, a startup that is developing communications products based on the Infiniband standard. It is expected to float on Nasdaq at a company valuation of $350 million.

Also, in June the Red Herring magazine chose two Walden-financed startups as "most promising startups" - Zend Technologies, which sells the popular open-source PHP software, and fables semiconductor company Amimon, which developed a wireless video modem.