Symbol makes first-check investments in ‘pre-consensus’ startups
TEL AVIV, Israel–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#enterprisetech—Symbol announces the closure of its $50 million debut fund, focused on first-check investments in Israeli entrepreneurs building ‘pre consensus’ startups. The fund started operating after an initial closing in late 2021 and has since made 10 pre-seed and seed investments, including Sightful, Breeze, Nilus, CardinalOps, Jiga, and Squire. Despite the global financial climate, five companies in the Symbol portfolio have already raised another funding round. Two of the companies are alumni of Y Combinator, the best startup accelerator in the world.
Symbol’s founder and Managing Partner is Yuval Ariav, an accomplished entrepreneur part of the founding team of Onavo (acquired by Meta in 2013 for $200 million) and co-founder and first CTO of the fintech scale-up Fundbox. After leaving Fundbox, Ariav joined LionBird as a General Partner, leading investments in companies such as Assured Allies and Fundguard. As an angel investor, Ariav participated in the first funding round of chip-software unicorn Next Silicon, where he serves as a board member, and in the seed round of procurement automation startup Approve, which was acquired by Tipalty two years after inception. He also serves as an adj. professor at Columbia Business School since 2018, working directly with young people aspiring to build the next great innovation.
“I was a founder of a company that was well outside of the VC consensus, it was extremely challenging to raise funds for our first round. This sparked a decade-long interest in great ideas which similarly don’t tick all the VC boxes,” Ariav said. “And these companies are, quite literally, hidden gems. Assured Allies, Next Silicon, and Fundguard are three companies that struggled to raise their first rounds and have since raised tens of millions in follow-on funding, gained significant commercial traction and are considered to be market leaders in their domains.”
“As a fellow startup founder, I understand that not everything goes according to plan. At Symbol, we embrace these challenges alongside founders, knowing such moments are unavoidable. However, we firmly believe in the resilience of entrepreneurs and their ability to overcome setbacks, ultimately building thriving and resilient companies.”
Symbol’s investors (Limited Partners) base is composed of a vast network of VCs, entrepreneurs, and family offices from the US and Europe. LionBird, an early investor in FundBox and Ariav’s former professional home, is also a Limited Partner in Symbol.
“Symbol is a first-check VC for entrepreneurs who are ‘pre-consensus,’ because their ideas are considered too complicated, risky or niche for early stage VCs or because the founders come from unconventional backgrounds,” says Ariav. “Israel has an outstanding talent density and unique collective traits such as courage and creativity. We aim to create access to a sub-sector of entrepreneurs who are underrepresented in the current investor landscape. It’s a massive opportunity.”
Symbol, established in 2021 and headquartered in Tel Aviv, is a $50M first-check VC supporting pre-consensus founders on their journey from zero to one. Yuval Ariav, Symbol’s Founder and Managing Partner, has been an early investor in successful ventures like Fundguard, NextSilicon, Assured Allies, Sightful, and Approve (acquired by Tipalty). Prior to this, he served as co-founder and CTO of Fundbox and led Product at Onavo (acquired by Meta).
Symbol invests between $500k to $3.5M in the first funding round of exceptional Israeli entrepreneurs, regardless of location, who are building pre-consensus companies. As a sector-agnostic fund, Symbol focuses on B2B, consumer, and enterprise tech startups. Learn more at symbol.vc and Symbol on LinkedIn.