Tech Nation: Viola Launches $100 Million Financial Tech Fund Led by Former Bank Leumi Executive

Israeli Natural Resource Holdings buys Canadian miner of bitcoins ■ Graduway raises $12.5 million for software that tracks college alumni

Prof Daniel Tsiddon, November 12, 2008
Tess Scheflam

Viola launches $100 million financial tech fund led by former Bank Leumi executive

A little more than a year after he left Bank Leumi as a deputy CEO, Prof. Daniel Tsiddon has raised $100 million for a new Viola group venture capital fund specializing in global financial technology. Viola said the new fund won backing from banks, insurance companies and asset managers from Europe, North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Israel, including Scotiabank, The Travelers Companies, Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank.  Ultimately Viola FinTech aims to raise between $120 million and $150 million, it said. Tsiddon will manage the fund together with Tomer Michaeli — a co-founder of Fundbox, a startup that lends money to small businesses. Avi Zeevi, a co-founder and general partner of Viola Venture, will serve as chairman of the fund’s investment committee. Viola FinTech said it will put between $3 million and $7 million into each of its portfolio companies, as a co-investor. 
(Michael Rochvarger and Eliran Rubin)

Israeli Natural Resource Holdings buys Canadian miner of bitcoins

National Resource Holdings, which six weeks ago announced it was leaving gold and iron mining business to mine cryptocurrencies instead, said Wednesday it had acquired 75% of Canada’s Backbone Hosting Solutions. The all-share deal will give Backbone shareholders 75% of the merged company. Also known as Bitfarms, Backbone has four server farms dedicated to bitcoin mining totaling 25 megawatts and 250 petahash, the speed at which a computer completes an operation in the bitcoin code. That makes it the largest cryptocurrency operation in North America by installed energy and hashpower, and it plans to add two more facilites at the start of next month with another 25 megawatts and 250 petahash. Natural Resource CEO Roy Sebag said  Bitfarms earned $8.3 million from mining the digital assets in the last four months, with operating costs of just 12% due to cheap Canadian power prices — and that was when bitcoin was $8,000, not the $12,000 it’s worth now. (Guy Erez)

Graduway raises $12.5 million for software that tracks college alumni

Graduway, a U.K. company with Israeli operations whose software enables universities to keep track of their alumni, said Wednesday it had raised $12.7 million from Susquehanna Growth Equity. Formed in 2013 by CEO Daniel Cohen, its investors include the Israeli angel investor Gigi Levy, Massa Innovations and SaaS Capital. Headquartered in London, Graduway is used by some 500 education institutions and nonprofits, including Johns Hopkins University and the University of Oxford, to manage their online alumni career communities. With the anchor investment from SGE, the company plans to invest in product development, expand its U.S. office and add staff. ‘’Institutions around the world struggle with the same challenge of maintaining and fostering meaningful relationships with their alumni,” explained Chris Marshall, president of Graduway North America and a former alumni official at Cornell University. “Investing in education technology is the single most effective way to nurture and deepen these relationships.” Graduway employs 60 people, including 50 at its offices in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ra’anana. (Eliran Rubin)