Israel is known as the ‘start-up nation’. Even though geographically it is smaller than the state of New Jersey, Israel had more companies listed in 2012 on the NASDAQ stock exchange than any country outside the United States, save China. Besides innovating in technology, an Israeli charity fund called Tmura – The Israeli Public Service Venture Fund is innovating in giving by collaborating with Israeli start-ups, and the pay-off to Israeli non-profit organizations is big. Tmura’s mission is: “To support educational initiatives and youth opportunities, among other charitable activities in Israel, by sharing in the wealth created by the country’s leading technology sector”.
Rather than soliciting cash donations, Tmura receives grants of stock options from start-up Israeli technology companies and uses the proceeds from successful “exits” – a public offering, acquisition or sale of the donated stock on the market – to fund education- and youth-related charities in Israel. Tmura just announced that it has recieved over $400,000 from the exercise of its stock from the Israeli start-up Intucell, an advanced cellular technology company which was recently acquired by CISCO systems. Intucell, with the support of its venture investor Bessemer Venture Partners, contributed options to Tmura soon after the company’s inception. Now, just a few years later, and upon the acquisition of the company by Cisco, these options have turned into a significant source of support for youth and education programs around Israel.
“We are delighted to share our success with the organizations backed by Tmura,” said Intucell’s CEO Rani Wellingstein. “While Intucell benefited from the talent of some of the strongest minds in Israel, we never lost sight of people with special needs in our society. Through Tmura, we could fulfill this commitment and connect it to our own endeavors.” “We are big supporters of Tmura and their commitment to sharing the fruits of high tech success with the broader community in Israel,” said Adam Fisher, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “I urge entrepreneurs and VCs to realize the leverage of the Tmura model by signing up early in the start-up’s life. Given the speed at which Intucell grew into a success, I am pleased we brought Tmura to Intucell early on after our initial investment.”
Following consultation with the company, these funds are being allocated to several wonderful organizations including:
– AMICHAI (www.amichai-npo.com) – an organization which aims to integrate mentally disabled individuals into the larger society;
– Krembo Wings (www.krembo.org.il) – a national youth movement for children with special needs; and
– Eliya (www.eliya.org.il) – an organization that operates unique programs for blind and visually impaired children and their families.
To date, Tmura has provided funding to more than 100 non-profit organizations in Israel, and has helped to improve and enhance the lives of thousands of children and youth.
In addition, 8 new companies have already joined the Tmura program so far in 2013, bringing the total number of companies who have donated options to the community through Tmura, to 273. Following stock exits in 2012 from other Israeli start ups Tmura has now surpassed 30,000,000 shekels in funding generated for education and youth–related programs in Israel. Baruch Lipner the Executive Director of the Tmura fund said about the money raised from Intucell’s stock, “Its wonderful…when the company donates its options its ‘potential’, we’re all sharing in the dream the company is going to succeed and when it does, it proves how the model is very effective.”
This video explains Tmura’s story and how Israeli start-ups donate options for a good cause and the ripple effect of success it creates everyone involved.
By Eitan Press