Accelerant Launches Micro-Fund to Help Israeli Startups Come to U.S.

[Corrected, 1:50 pm, 3/5/2014. See below.] New York is the gateway for many international founders who want to make a splash in the United States, but setting up shop here can be tough.

Eyal Bino, founder of Worldwide Investor Network (WIN) in New York, has been an advocate for bringing startups from overseas to this city. Now he has put together some backing to support that effort. On Tuesday, WIN unveiled its first micro-fund, Accelerant Ventures, to assist startups in Israel that want to break into the U.S. market.

The new fund is an extension of WIN, an effort Bino started in 2011 to help startups from overseas get the attention of U.S. investors and then expand internationally. He wants Accelerant to invest in companies along the lines of Fireblade , a Tel Aviv-based Web security startup that WIN has worked with that in October said it raised $4.5 million.

Accelerant will have its eyes on business-to-business startups that are developing technology for big data, mobile, and new media, Bino says. He adds that the micro-fund expects to make its first investment by July.

[A prior version of this paragraph misquoted Bino referring to C level funding instead of seed level funding. We regret the error.] Attracting funding in the early stages can be particularly tough in Israel, says Bino, though it can get easier as startups mature. He says Israel is enjoying its own boom of new tech startups, and those companies are eager to reach markets with more customers. The trouble is they may not have access to enough funding in Israel to do so. “[The financing scene] is very welcoming at the seed  level, not as much at the A round,” he says. “There’s not as many resources.”

This gap where some Israeli startups struggle, he says, is where Accelerant believes it can help. Bino says his micro-fund will invest between $500,000 and $1 million in seed-stage startups. The plan also calls for Accelerant to work alongside micro-funds based in Israel.

Beyond the money, Bino says, Accelerant will provide advice to help founders get their start in New York. Drawing on the connections and resources Bino has cultivated through WIN, the startups will be offered help finding initial customers and partners in the U.S.

Accelerant is initially focusing on founders from Israel, Bino says, because of the bond between his home country and the U.S. innovation scene. Oftentimes Israeli startups move their management team to New York, he says, while keeping research and development operations at home. “There are more than 200 Israeli startups that are based in New York,” Bino says.

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