The Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, announced today the establishment of “Libertad Ventures“, pledged to fund Israeli start-up companies developing new technologies useful for intelligence operations.
At the first stage, a total of ILS 10 million p.a. (USD 2,85 million) will be invested in five early-stage Israeli start-ups. The investments of Libertad Ventures will be equity-free, and no royalties or limitations will be imposed on the companies’ intellectual property. The companies will grant the Mossad a non-exclusive and non-commercial license to their IP, yet will be required to receive formal approval of the Israeli Ministry of Defense for dealing with any other clients. On later stages, Libertad Ventures will also consider investing in foreign companies.
Contrary to other government venture funds, Libertad Ventures stresses that it “thinks and acts like a commercial institution”, with clear and concise contracts and minimal bureaucracy. However, the Mossad is not the first government intelligence agency to establish a venture fund – CIA’s In-Q-Tel (est. 1999 as Peleus) is considered to be a trendsetter among tech investors, and has, since its establishment, invested some $150 million in more than 90 companies, and delivered more than 130 technology solutions to the intelligence community.
In the first call for proposals published today (27-Jun-2017), Libertad Ventures defined its current focus on companies developing novel robotic solutions, energy harvesting and self-powering, high-speed data encryption, personality profiling, web intelligence and natural language processing, among others. Libertad is committed to discretion – it will not disclose the companies it funds, and will not prevent them from receiving additional funding.
The name of the new venture fund stems from “Libertad”, a ship with Jewish immigrants that sailed from Bulgaria to the then-British territory of Palestine in 1940, during the Second World War.