Former Trump officials looking to invest in Startup Nation

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Ambassador to Israel are establishing a Tel Aviv office for their fund Liberty Strategic, which is raising capital from various sources, including companies from the Gulf countries.

By Meir Orbach, Calcalist

The U.S. Treasury Secretary during the Donald Trump administration, Steven Mnuchin, and the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, are looking to invest in Israeli high-tech through a new investment fund they have set up.

The two former officials are establishing a Tel Aviv office for their fund Liberty Strategic, seeking to invest in cybersecurity, finance, network solutions, and other investments. The fund is raising capital from various sources, including companies from the Gulf countries, and is expected to manage billions of dollars. Friedman will serve as the fund’s Israel representative.

There were rumors that Yossi Cohen, the former head of the Mossad, was expected to join the fund.

In recent days, Mnuchin and Friedman visited Israel on a trip arranged by Yaron Carni, the founder of Maverick Ventures Israel. The Trump administration officials met with representatives of five of Maverick Ventures Israel’s portfolio companies, including Sharegain and Safebreach. Maverick Ventures Israel was founded by Carni, and is run by managing partner Michel Abadi. It invests in companies in early growth stages and so far has invested in 36 companies.

Additionally, Mnuchin and Friedman met with Sagi Gidali and Amit Bareket, the founder of Israeli cyber company Perimeter 81. The company provides network solutions and secure online remote access. Mnuchin and Friedman asked to meet with the two entrepreneurs and inquired about the company’s next funding round.

Perimeter 81 was set up by Gidali and Bareket in 2018 and it has about 1,600 global customers, including Fortune 500 companies. In November 2019, the company raised $10 million from cybersecurity company SonicWall, which is owned by Francisco Partners, at a value of $50 million. In May 2020,

Perimeter 81’s value doubled to $100 million following another investment round, and after three more months, Insight Partners led another funding round, this time at a value of $160 million. A secondary deal in March 2021 saw Insight Partners along with other investors purchase stakes in the company according to a valuation of $330 million.