Omri Casspi, a Forbes Israel Under 30 graduate and the former captain of Israel’s national basketball team is launching “Sheva” – a new VC fund to invest in early-stage startups. The fund is co-founded with David Citron, a veteran early-stage VC investor. David was most recently Global Founders Capital’s partner in Israel, leading the giant European firm’s activities in the Israel ecosystem.
An athlete or celebrity turned VC is not a new concept. Many successful funds have been utilizing the unique value proposition of a celebrity GP-led fund. Funds like Sound Ventures, KD35, Penny Jar, and investors like Andre Iguadala or Alex Rodgriguez have been leveraging their network, status and audience to help their portfolio companies in many aspects.
During Omri Casspi career in the NBA, he had the fortune of playing alongside great players who were active tech investors, and decided to become an active angel investor. Some examples include DocuSign and DayTwo. Upon his retirement and returning to Israel, Casspi decided to ramp up his activity in the early stage tech scene, and build out a portfolio of over a dozen companies in the past few years.
In Casspi’s efforts to get more involved in the venture capital ecosystem, he met David Citron. “Omri initially reached out to me on LinkedIn. I’ve always been a fan of the game of basketball, and grew up watching Omri represent Israel. But, a connection request from someone like Casspi seemed like a phishing attempt.”
recalls Citron, who has invested in the past in the startups Frontegg, Sorbet, Cyolo and Faros AI. “We hit it off immediately, and started co-investing in a number of early-stage startups. Our chemistry was so good, that it got to a point that our joint portfolio companies suggested we team up on our weekly calls. We were already thinking about the viability of starting a fund, but hearing this message from founders more than once gave us a real indication of product-market fit, so we decided to go all-in and launch Sheva”
Sheva is a $50M fund that focuses on pre-seed and seed stage, as well as opportunistic series A investments. The fund intends to invest in 20 companies, between $1M-$2M in each. The firm began operating in the beginning of 2022, and has already made a number of investments in fintech, cyber security and web3 ventures. Among the fund’s investors are institutional investors, family offices, tech entrepreneurs and highly active crossover funds that have been investing heavily in global.
“I’ve always been the hardest worker; first one at the gym, last one to leave. I believe that the same level of energy is what’s required of an early-stage founder, and I’m eager to bring my hustle and robust network that I was fortunate enough to build over my career to provide real differentiated value to our founders” shares Casspi.
“David and I have very little overlap in the value that we bring to our portfolio, which we believe is a significant force multiplier. This combined with our fantastic community of LPs who include celebrities, influences, unicorn founders, angel investors and successful GPs is what we believe to be a winning formula for true value add.”