Portfolio company Zooz gets acquired by PayU

By Mor Assia, iAngels founding partner

This week, marked another win for Israeli technology. PayU, subsidiary of Naspers (JSE:NPN), also known as PayPal of the developing world, announced that it had acquired Zooz. This will be iAngels’ 6th portfolio acquisition since the firm was founded in 2014. Zooz, which operates in the payments space, has a unique technology allowing merchants to decide how transactions should be routed. Zooz analytics solution provides its merchant customers with visibility to follow transaction processes and data across consumer purchasing channels.

PayU will integrate Zooz into a broad offering of payment solutions and services, catering primarily to the e-commerce industry.

iAngels invested in Zooz in early 2016. This like recent acquisitions namely VisuaLead by Alibaba and BriefCam by Canon, showcases another strong multinational stepping into Israel for the first time to acquire both the technology and team. Historically, multinationals making acquisitions in Israel have tended to form a presence and develop a bigger appetite for further acquisitions, which benefits the Israeli ecosystem and contributes significantly to its growth.

We invested in Zooz for its team, business acumen and rapid customer acquisition, including significant customers such as Gett, Payoneer, Zara, Wix and Burberry. Zooz was positioned as a growing leader in its category and the unique relationship with PayU as a dominant distributor supported and propelled Zooz to new heights.

Oren Levy, Zooz’s CEO, and Ronen Mordecki, his partner of 8 years, co-founded Zooz out of a rich background in Marketing, Fintech and Engineering. They wanted to cater to a blue ocean of merchants needing to navigate transaction failure due to lack of cross border acquirer relationships and resulting consumer churn.

It was only natural that when PayU were considering a strategic investment into Zooz, for the process to end with an acquisition. PayU wanted the technology for itself and decided to adopt an open platform approach for the solution, which has been solving a true pain point for many of its customers. PayU were well positioned to see first hand the whole process and its benefits.

I believe the platform and transparent approach is the right path, as this has been a central conversation of the payments industry, highlighting the limitations of the traditional banking system which operates on old legacy contracts between banks. There are multiple intermediaries taking up pieces of the pie along the way at the expense of the consumer.

Blockchain is also trying to circumnavigate the banking system altogether and cut off all intermediaries in the most transparent and bold way, in order to process cross border transactions and open up the world to collaboration and new business. Interim solutions before blockchain payments become mainstream, which could still take years, involve the traditional banking system but in a smart way, supported by technology and data rather than politics.

Consolidation of vendors and banks to form larger alliances may relieve some of the frustration on the consumer side, at the same time as enabling them to compete and stay relevant. Solutions such as Zooz can be instrumental in this approach, in understanding how transactions are processed and by having the data and analytics to make smart financial decisions. With the payments industry going through a major transformation, it is exciting to see Israeli startups collaborating with international teams to present continuous groundbreaking innovation in this space.

We congratulate the team for completing this acquisition process, and look forward to their successful onboarding and integration into the PayU organization.

For further coverage of the exit:

TechCrunch – PayU acquires Zooz to take on international payment services

No CamelsIsraeli Payment Technology Provider Zooz Acquired 

CTechPayU to Acquire Israel-Based Payment Startup Zooz



New AVG Tool Inspired By Recent Acquisition of MyRoll

We’ve all been there, taking loads of pictures on our smartphones, but always running out of space. Must be all those selfies. There are services like Google Photos which can backup your photos, but your photos are still located on your device and thus using storage on your device. But not anymore. AVG has their new Smart Photo Cleaner which is part of their popular AVG Cleaner app. The main purpose of this is to clean up the cache, space and keep your smartphone running nice and smooth. AVG has over 200 million monthly active users, using a few of their other popular apps including the AVG Cleaner. Speaking of which, AVG Cleaner is also getting an update that includes a new one-click dashboard that can analyze the device status and start a one-tap clean-up of files, storage and battery-draining apps.


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iAngels Records Second Exit

Just a couple of months after announcing Big Blue Parrot as its first investment exit, Israel-based co-investment crowdfunding platform iAngels, revealed on Thursday that portfolio company Flayvr, operating as My Roll, was acquired by security software giant AVG Technologies NV (NYSE:AVG). Details of the transaction were not released.

iAngels is an equity crowdfunding site that always pairs accredited investors with “top performing early stage investors” on identical terms.  The strategy of matching professional investors with smaller retail investors is gaining credence in the crowdfunding space as the preferred model.

With the acquisition, AVG will add Flayvr’s Gallery Doctor app, which identifies and removes bad photos on Android and iOS, to its existing AVG Cleaner product, developed by the team at AVG’s new Mobile Center of Excellence in Tel Aviv. The product integration will be completed in Q1 2016, and made available to AVG’s global mobile customer base at that time.
Mor Assia, a founding partner at iAngels, shared:

“Global corporate demand for Israeli innovation is higher than ever before. For U.S. investors to profit from this market dynamic, they need a trusted partner in Israel who has visibility and access to the deal flow of Israel’s most successful angel investors.”

Flayvr was founded by Ron Levy and Adi Ashkenazi in 2012. After reaching initial traction, Flayvr went on to raise $2M from Moshe Lichtman, Kaeden Capital, iAngels, and other influential Israeli investors to grow its user base and enhance the platform.

Shelly Hod Moyal, a founding partner at iAngels, also noted:

“Successful angel investing is all about having an edge. In light of the SEC’s approval of Title III of the JOBS Act, U.S. investors must think about which equity crowdfunding platform can provide them with an exclusive edge. Having influence on your side is the only way to be successful in angel investing.”

Ron Levy, CEO and co-founder of Flayvr, added:

“When the top investors in the industry back your company, you know you have a much better chance to succeed as they bring with them decades of experience. iAngels worked closely with Flayvr early on, which helped me broaden my exposure globally, and position Flayvr for what’s ahead.”

Meanwhile, iAngels continues to expand as it approaches its second year anniversary with 15 employees and 26 investments in its portfolio. Some of the new hires include Former Chief of Staff to Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Lee Moser and former Yahoo!, Nice and Conduit executive, Yaron Eilot.

The company recently became the “world’s first” equity crowdfunding platform to create early liquidity for employee stock options, with a secondary offering platform aimed to help startups attract and retain top talent.  iAngels raised $2.25 million in a seed round earlier this year led by Roman Abramovich’s fund, Millhouse LLC.

Equity Crowdfunding Platform iAngels Quickly Records First Exit

iAngels, the only co-investment platform in Israel that enables private investors to gain access to exclusive early-stage opportunities by collaborating with Startup Nation’s leading angels, announced today that portfolio company Big Blue Parrot has been acquired by mobile gaming giant Playtika. The social gaming platform is the first iAngels investment to return capital to its shareholders, less than a year after the initial investment.

“Co-investing with Israel’s smartest investors means we’re investing in the highest quality entrepreneurs Israel has ever seen,” said Mor Assia, Founding Partner at iAngels. “We knew from our first conversations with Big Blue Parrot that the team and platform would make for an attractive acquisition target.”

Big Blue Parrot was founded in 2010 by Gilad Almog, Gal Weizenberg and Daniel Rechter. After reaching initial traction, Big Blue Parrot went on to raise $2.5M from Gigi Levy, Rami Lipman, Haim Blecher, and iAngels to grow its user base and enhance the platform.

“iAngels provided us with counsel and content regarding messaging, positioning, and deal structure,” remarked Gilad Almog, CEO of Big Blue Parrot. “It was a pleasure working with the iAngels team and I tell any startup who comes to me for fundraising advice to approach iAngels”

Playtika’s acquisition of Big Blue Parrot marks yet another exit for Israel’s most prolific angel Gigi Levy.

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Israeli Gaming Giant Playtika acquires Tel Aviv-based Big Blue Parrot

Israel-based Playtika, one of the biggest players in the digital gaming market, is reasserting its dominance with the acquisition of Big Blue Parrot (BBP), a company behind the successful app Poker Friends. The amount was undisclosed, though it is likely not too small a price for Playtika to maintain its marketshare. Co-founder and CEO Robert Antokol called it the fifth successful major acquisition for his company in a few short years.


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