Sababa Ventures Launches Media & Entertainment Technology Fund Focused on Israeli Ecosystem

Backed by former senior media and entertainment executives from MGM, New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures, Time Warner, WPP and more, Sababa Ventures will invest in early-stage technology companies in the media, entertainment, sports, and commerce industries

NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES & TEL AVIV, Israel–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sababa Ventures, a global venture capital firm, is raising a $35 million fund dedicated to investing in Israeli entrepreneurs aiming to disrupt the media, entertainment, sports, and commerce industries. By combining successful Israeli investors and key industry experts, Managing Partners Jared Kash and Yaron Kniajer established Sababa Ventures to bridge Israeli innovation and the American market.

Randi Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, joins Sababa Ventures as a General Partner where she will leverage her insider expertise and work directly with portfolio companies to help scale their ventures. Robert Friedman, CEO of Bungalow Media + Entertainment and a former senior executive at Time Warner and New Line Cinema, joins the team as a Venture Partner and will provide Sababa Ventures entrepreneurs with unique relationships to the world’s largest media and entertainment corporations. Combined with other industry experts that have invested in and led successful global companies, the team brings unparalleled experience to the Israeli start-up ecosystem.

The media and entertainment industry is an expanding $2 trillion market that demands the right kind of M&A, technology, and innovation to fuel growth. The global appetite for Israel-based technologies continues to surge with exits in the first half of 2019 reaching $14.8 billion, an all-time high in the last five years, with recent acquisitions from Facebook, Walmart, McDonald’s and more. Media and entertainment startups are poised to benefit from this trend as they introduce innovative business models and advanced technologies, from machine learning to mixed reality, that will reshape and expand the boundaries of current capabilities. For example, the fund’s first investment is in IMGN Media. Totaling over 3 billion monthly views and 40 million followers on Instagram and Snapchat, IMGN Media is an innovative social publisher that utilizes a data-driven approach to both publishing and distribution.

Sababa Ventures will focus on early-stage technology companies where the team will invest expertise alongside capital. Jared Kash is an entrepreneur and media-tech investor from New York. He most recently led the investment activity of Los Angeles marketing agency, Big Block Media, who in turn became the first investors in Sababa Ventures. Big Block Media’s clientele stretches across ESPN, NBA, and Under Armour in sports to HBO, Netflix, and Telemundo in entertainment. “By combining Israeli know-how with globally recognized industry leaders, we have positioned Sababa Ventures to become the ‘go-to’ VC in media, entertainment, sports, and commerce,” said Jared. “We are bringing unparalleled access and connections to serve the portfolio, and are creating an innovative venture firm that will be associated with working side-by-side with the most promising startups coming out of Israel.”

Yaron Kniajer is a seasoned Israeli technology investor. A former partner at Rhodium, an early-stage fund with media driven investments including Outbrain, Yotpo, and YieldMo, Yaron has been involved in startups that were sold to companies such as Facebook, Apple, and Huawei. “Israeli entrepreneurs are disrupting all business sectors, and targeting value-add capital,” said Yaron. “There is a unique opportunity within our focus on media and entertainment; that is where we come in. Our investors bring strong industry experience, which will help our startups to build and scale their technologies globally. ”

“We formed Sababa Ventures to build a bridge between Israeli innovators and the American market,” said General Partner Randi Zuckerberg. “Similar to Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv is a unique source for technology innovation. Harnessing Israeli ingenuity will be key to shaping the entire media landscape on a global scale. Our team is committed to working closely with our portfolio companies to drive value, foster innovation, accelerate ventures, and help entrepreneurs fulfill their grand vision.”

The team’s extensive experience in operating media and entertainment giants such as MGM, New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures, Time Warner and WPP, enables Sababa Ventures to deliver strategic insights to their portfolio, and provide access to the most relevant executives, entrepreneurs, and investors. Anchored in New York, Los Angeles, and Tel Aviv, Sababa Ventures is well positioned to bring these ecosystems together for the mutual benefit of Israeli entrepreneurs, investors, and the global market.

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Gregg Delman

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