Sharin Fisher Dibrov
Title: Partner at Fort Ross Ventures
Past positions: Managed 8200 EISP, Israel’s first accelerator program founded by 8200 Alumni Association; Venture Capital work in Silicon Valley
Portfolio companies: Explorium, Granulate, Deci AI
At age 33, Sharin Fisher Dibrov is a partner at Fort Ross Ventures, a global venture capital firm that manages $600 million. She leads the fund’s investments in Israel at both the early and growth stages. Her areas of investment include: Big Data, SaaS, AI/ML, Cyber Security, Fintech, and related fields, in category-leading companies. In a relatively short period of time, Fisher Dibrov has built an impressive portfolio, and has invested in a number of promising companies in Israel, including fast growing startups such as Explorium, which raised above $125M and was selected by Forbes as one of the next Israeli Unicorns, Granulate, a company that raised $45M and Intel is planning to acquire for $650M according to latest publications, and Deci AI, which has already raised more than $30M.
Fisher Dibrov, a Forbes 30 under 30 alumni (2017), joined FRV’ Fund II as partner in early 2020. “I met the Fort Ross team while I was working in early and late stage investments in Silicon Valley,” Fisher Dibrov says. “When I was contemplating what my next move would be, I realized that joining FRV will allow me to build the investment thesis, and lead and make investments in Israeli companies. It will also give me a broader perspective on the investments as well as strengthen my network, through the activities of our team in Silicon Valley. It was an opportunity for me, as a great believer in Israeli entrepreneurs and startups, to globally promote the companies I invest in”.
Giving value to portfolio companies
Fisher Dibrov served as an officer in the IDF elite Unit 8200 for eight years, and completed her military service with the rank of captain and two academic degrees. It didn’t take long before Fisher Dibrov began working with startups as the Managing Director of the 8200 EISP startup accelerator. “The 8200 EISP’s board approached me and asked me to step in as the Managing Director of the accelerator”. She added “During my tenure at 8200 EISP, I met with 700 startups a year, and worked with 12 startups and bright entrepreneurs in each batch. My intuition and ability to identify strong teams that can build extraordinary companies improved greatly. Not only that, but the time I spent at EISP has had a huge impact on the quality and quantity of deals I’m getting to this day”.
Following her job at the accelerator, she started working with an experienced Venture Capitalist, Dan Avida (investor and board member at SolarEdge, Sisense, Dome 9, etc), who is based in Silicon Valley. “I was privileged to work alongside Dan for a significant period, during which he taught me the “secrets” of venture capital. Getting that kind of opportunity is very rare – it gave me invaluable experience in investing and working with startups, and showed me that a great investor can bring a game-changing value to startups.”
Following her work with Dan, she joined FRV as a partner “I joined when the firm’s activity was focused on Series B and C rounds. These financing rounds are mostly based on data and growth metrics, which allowed me to deepen my knowledge and to broaden my skill-set”. She added “After being with the firm for a few months, I sat down for a discussion with my three partners, and suggested we widen our scope with respect to the fund’s investment strategy. This was based on the experience I’d amassed and the network I had built over the years, alongside our physical presence in Israel, making it feasible for us to invest in companies one stage earlier. The decision to go ahead with these changes was unanimous”. This modification has given FRV an advantage over some of the other global VC firms that meet with Israeli startups at later stages “investing earlier and building relationships with strong teams allow us to double down on these companies at later stages”.
More opportunities for women
“Nowadays, there is a lot of available cash for investing in startups, so we must become more creative and proactive in order to succeed in closing successful deals. I work hard to invest in the best Israeli companies, and then after the investment has been made, I continue to work closely with the companies to help them grow fast in the right direction.” She replied, “The relationships and trust that I build with the portfolio companies allow me to assist them in strategic processes as well as at a variety of important decision-making points on their journey.”
When asked why so few women are involved in the venture capital industry, Fisher Dibrov replied “The VC industry is dominated by men, but this reality is slowly improving, though we still have a long way to go. I believe that the awareness about the benefits of hiring a diverse group of people has created an opportunity for women who find this industry attractive”.
When she was asked for her advice for women considering working in VC, she replied: “Courage and persistence are important – do not be afraid to initiate and learn new things, keep in mind that it is a long journey with ups and downs, and invest in building relationships with both entrepreneurs and investors”. She then added, “It’s not an easy job but it is definitely worth it. Investing and working with companies you believe in is very exciting and satisfying.”
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