Michigan Ross Alum Shares How Some of the Most Notable Technology Deals of the Decade Have Prepared Him to Disrupt Tech Investing in Israel
Michigan Ross Alumni First Person
By Omer Cygler, MBA ‘11
Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Lion Investment Partners
I came to Michigan at an interesting point in time.
It was 2009, after the financial crisis, and I got to witness (from the outside looking in) how technology enabled the disruption of almost every industry. In retrospect, this evolution has led to the birth of some of the world’s most valuable companies in just a few years (you’ve heard of Uber, Warby Parker, Houzz, WeWork, and others I’m sure).
Following my MBA at Ross, I moved to San Francisco and joined J.P. Morgan Investment Bank to be part of the action and help create some of that value. Over the past eight years, I’ve had the fortune of working closely with some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and executing transformational M&A and capital markets transactions for their companies.
From working on Dropbox’s IPO, the largest SaaS IPO in history, to selling Minecraft to Microsoft to raising billions of dollars for the likes of Uber, LinkedIn and Twitter, I got to play a key role in some of the most disruptive and lucrative technology transactions in history.
Through it all, I’ve kept a strong connection to my home back in Israel. I advised numerous companies such as Wix.com and Fiverr on key transactions, and watched Israel’s vibrant technology ecosystem evolve into a more robust, mature market just like the U.S.
The robustness of the U.S. technology sector in the past 20 years has created financing solutions for almost every type of technology company, be it a rapidly growing startup or a bootstrapped, family-owned company. This realization that not all technology companies fit the traditional VC model has led to the creation of some of the world’s most successful private equity firms such as Silver Lake, Vista Equity, Thoma Bravo and others.
Unlike most VCs, these private equity firms focus on rigorous operations and M&A as a growth engine, which has been proven to generate incredible value within the technology sector.
In Israel, on the other hand, the financing ecosystem is largely comprised of VCs and growth-oriented investors and has not yet evolved to address the growing number of mid-market companies. With more than 7,000 technology companies in Israel today, there are hundreds of sizeable, proven businesses that, for the most part, just don’t “fit the mold” of the traditional VC model, but can still be great companies under the right ownership.
That is why, after 10 years in the U.S., I have decided to leave J.P. Morgan and partner with two longtime friends and partners to launch Lion Investment Partners, Israel’s first technology buyout fund that will invest in proven, yet overlooked, technology companies and help evolve them through operating best practices and active pursuit of M&A.
As we embark on this exciting journey, I look forward to leveraging the Michigan network for all kinds of collaborations in the years to come.
Omer Cygler is co-founder and managing partner at Lion Investment Partners, which works to ignite growth in mid-market technology companies in Israel. Learn more about Lion Investment Partners.
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