Israel’s Mossad spy agency is putting the finishing touches on an investment fund that will invest in local startups starting at the end of this month, bankers told TheMarker, Haaretz's financial newspaper.
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The fund will invest the Mossad’s own money, without any outside capital. And instead of getting shares in return, it will get rights to the startups’ products and technology for the agency’s use, said several bankers who helped set up the fund and requested anonymity.
Israel’s security establishment, both the defense industry and the army, has earned a worldwide reputation for its technology prowess, but the Mossad’s investment fund marks a new and surprising turn. The aim is to give the agency direct access to state-of-the-art developments while adding to the value of the startups through the Mossad connection.
The Mossad, however, isn’t the first intelligence agency to link espionage with investing. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency previously set up its In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit fund that was founded 17 years ago.
It also recalls, albeit via a slightly different model, corporate venture capital investments by most of the major technology and industry companies in strategic areas. Rafael, for example, launched this kind of cooperation with the Elron investment company, investing in startups focusing on cyber and intelligence technology.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined to confirm any details of the planned fund but said the matter was being examined.