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How Do Payments Providers Keep From Getting Disrupted? By Disrupting Themselves First

The payments industry has been in a nearly constant state of disruption for the last 20 years. See how cloud is helping payments leaders stay ahead of the competition.   The first time I ever hailed a car with a ridesharing app, I went from point A to point B and never once had to think about whether I had enough cash or what credit card to use. This magical digital black car service removed the friction of a payment step from the journey, and it was fantastic.   A decade ago, if you wanted to pay for something, you needed cash, a credit card, or even a checkbook (remember those?). Checkout could be a cumbersome experience: fumbling for a wallet, searching for the right card, swiping it, and then waiting for the transaction to clear—all steps that stood between you and the door.   Today, we can text, tap, or swipe to pay. Digital payments are stripping away the need to think about the how of a transaction, allowing customers to buy almost instantly without ever reaching for their wallets. After all, it’s been said for years now that people own more phones than they do toothbrushes.   And herein lies the beauty of the payments industry: It’s constantly transforming to give customers what they want, where and when they need it.   Perhaps this is why so many of the fastest-growing innovators of our time are payment providers and commerce platforms. Paypal. Square/Block. Shopify. Affirm. These companies have become leaders by understanding how and where customers really want to pay in their daily lives and delivering technology solutions that make that possible.   By the same token, leading payment providers recognize that continuing to win also means continuing to disrupt, even if they have to disrupt themselves. What works today may fall short tomorrow—and all payment providers must be able to adapt experiences quickly enough to meet changing customer expectations and behaviors. To take just one example, look at the skyrocketing interest in cryptocurrencies and digital assets, and just how quickly tabs began appearing in select payment apps to purchase or transfer these assets.   Clearly, how digital payments companies set up their technology systems now will play a critical role in whether they continue to prosper.   The payments industry faces a perfect storm   The payments sector has been in a nearly constant state of disruption for the last 20 years. In fact, the only certainty at this point is that disruption is constant—and it’s speeding up.   Recent Accenture research found that modernizing payments is a $300 billion opportunity—roughly 2.7 trillion cash transactions are predicted to move to cards and digital payments by 2030. Digital wallet payments exceeded cash payments for the first time during 2020, according to the FIS 2021 Global Payments Report, and buy-now-pay-later, or BNPL, transaction adoption is expected to double by 2024. McKinsey reported that real-time payments soared by 41% during 2020 alone and are expected to play an increasingly important role in the global payments ecosystem.   The changes are everywhere. Digital currencies are becoming more reality than dream, real-time payments and new financing solutions are emerging, and more data standard requirements continue to appear. Beyond cloud computing, technologies like 5G, contactless payments such as NFC, and AI and machine learning are maturing fast. (It’s one reason Google Cloud recently established a digital assets team, to help companies tackle another fast-changing area of finance.)   At the same time, consumer demands are accelerating for convenient, flexible, and seamless payment experiences. Customers don’t want to be forced to fit into traditional payment ecosystems anymore. Understanding who they are, where they are in their journey, and being able to provide the services they need at that point will be the key to building payments models that can adapt over time.   Customer obsession is no longer a branding exercise for financial companies. It’s about creating real value that will make people’s lives better.

ALIVE: This is an opportunity to strengthen ties between our countries

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries,” said Prof. Rafi Beyar, one of the managing general partners of the ALIVE Israel HealthTech Fund, who took part in the Global Investment Forum in the United Arab Emirates, which was sponsored by The Jerusalem Post and the Khaleej Times, the leading media group in the UAE.   The fund has strategic partnerships with Maccabi Healthcare Services, the Assuta Medical Center network, the Maccabi Fund, Leumi Partners, the British investment group CBG and Carilion Clinic, an American healthcare organization.   “We work in the life sciences industry, and we have had a number of conversations with various parties in Dubai,” said Beyar, former director of the Rambam Medical Center and dean of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Medicine. “There is quite a bit of interest in medicine, and they also have very specific issues that they want to promote. Dubai has world-class medical centers and is interested in clinical and technological collaborations with Israel.   “They have extensive needs in population management, healthcare management and the transition to digital,” he added.   “Two common problems there are obesity and diabetes, and they want to know how to manage it – to learn who is prone to obesity. Using Israel’s powerful digital capabilities and the ability to analyze data with artificial intelligence, together we can advance our abilities and influence the entire world.”   Managing general partner Michel Habib, the former CEO of Hadasit Bio-Holdings, added: “They also need advanced treatments, solutions in the field of oncology, and the ability to provide digital medical advice remotely.   “Another area that interests them is investing in cyber technology. Hospitals are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks, and this is an area that is strategically important to them.”   One of the companies that ALIVE invested in and that is suitable for such collaboration is Cynerio, a cybersecurity company that has developed a platform to protect IoT (Internet of Things) medical equipment in hospitals.   “Usually, when there is a cyberattack on non-medical organizations, the first thing the system does is stop all activity and assess, but it would be life-threatening to shut down medical equipment,” said Dudi Klein, managing partner at the fund, who previously headed the innovation division at Assuta. “The company’s platform identifies which equipment is a life-sustaining medical device and which are secondary systems, and alerts security personnel who can handle the problem.   “In addition, the system warns and displays abnormal behaviors so that the attack can be prevented even before it is launched.”   This article was written in cooperation with ALIVE Israel HealthTech Fund.

Cynerio raises $30 million to secure medical and IoT devices in hospitals and health systems

Healthcare IoT cybersecurity and asset management startup Cynerio announced on Wednesday that it has secured $30 million in series B funding. The investment round was led by ALIVE Israel HealthTech Fund, with existing investors, global VC Accelmed, RDC, Elron’s joint venture with Rafael, and Swiss-based growth investor, MTIP, also participating in the funding round. ALIVE co-investors, CBG London investment company owned by Vincent Tchenguiz, also participated in the round and additional co-investors will join as well, including a leading UAE-based investment group.   The Israeli startup, which has raised a total of $40 million to date, was founded in 2018 by Leon Lerman and Daniel Brodie. The company currently employs 40 people, 30 of them in Israel, and is expected to recruit dozens of additional employees for its R&D center in Ramat Gan.   Cynerio aims to use the funding to fully realize its vision of being the healthcare industry's go-to cybersecurity and asset management solution by expanding its channel program, forming strategic partnerships with leading solution providers, and expanding its clinically intelligent toolbox of preemptive and proactive Zero Trust solutions into a full-service, responsive security platform. The funding will further support the acceleration of technological development and enhance support to Cynerio’s existing customers while reinforcing its leading position in North America as well as its global expansion.   "The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it new challenges for the cybersecurity and health sectors," said Leon Lerman, CEO and co-founder of Cynerio. “With the additional backing, we’ll be able to continue advancing our product offerings to support healthcare providers, with unparalleled threat detection, preemptive security and response capabilities, while alleviating healthcare’s coinciding operational challenges.”   Cynerio grew substantially in 2020, concluding the year with a 300% year-over-year revenue increase.   "As a team of veteran healthcare leaders, we know the importance of healthcare cybersecurity first-hand," said Dudi Klein, Managing Partner at ALIVE. “Cynerio’s exceptional team has created an intuitive, cost-effective, and high-quality suite of solutions that healthcare professionals can rely on to protect their patients, staff, and business integrity with confidence."

Cynerio Raises $30 Million in Series B Funding to Secure Mission-Critical Medical and IoT Devices in Hospitals and Health Systems

NEW YORK, May 19, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Cynerio, the leading provider of Healthcare IoT cybersecurity and asset management solutions, announced today that it secured $30 million in Series B funding. The investment round was led by ALIVE Israel HealthTech Fund, Israel's pioneering HealthTech investment fund, headed by former health system officials, medical professionals, and veteran medtech entrepreneurs. Existing investors, global VC Accelmed, RDC, Elron's joint venture with Rafael, and Swiss-based growth investor, MTIP, also participated in the funding round. ALIVE co-investors, CBG London investment company owned by Vincent Tchenguiz, also participated in the round and additional co-investors will join as well, including a leading UAE based investment group.   Cynerio will use the funding to fully realize its vision of being the healthcare industry's go-to cybersecurity and asset management solution by expanding its channel program, forming strategic partnerships with leading solution providers and expanding its clinically-intelligent toolbox of preemptive and proactive Zero Trust solutions into a full-service, responsive security platform. The funding will further support the acceleration of technological development and enhance support to Cynerio's existing customers, while reinforcing its leading position in North America as well as its global expansion.   "It's critical to have partners who intimately understand the healthcare industry and its exceptional needs, especially now with the unprecedented pressures COVID-19 has introduced. Cynerio is extremely grateful for the continued faith and support of Elron, Accelmed and MTIP," said Leon Lerman, CEO and co-founder of Cynerio. "With the additional backing of ALIVE and their expertise in the US healthcare system, we'll be able to continue advancing our product offerings to support healthcare providers, with unparalleled threat detection, preemptive security and response capabilities, while alleviating healthcare's coinciding operational challenges."   Cynerio grew substantially in 2020, concluding the year with a 300% year-over-year revenue increase. The company was recognized as the industry Leader in Forrester's Connected Medical Device Security, Q2 Report and named a Gartner Cool Vendor in the 2020 Security Report, further highlighting the strength of Cynerio's solutions and its unique approach to Healthcare IoT cybersecurity.   "We're very excited to lead this investment round in Cynerio, the industry leader," said Dudi Klein, Managing Partner at ALIVE. "As a team of veteran healthcare leaders, we know the importance of healthcare cybersecurity first-hand. Cynerio's exceptional team has created an intuitive, cost-effective and high-quality suite of solutions that healthcare professionals can rely on to protect their patients, staff, and business integrity with confidence."   As COVID-19 continues to strain the global healthcare industry, barrages of cyber attacks accentuate the need for robust healthcare-specific security and automated asset management solutions. To meet and exceed those needs, Cynerio scaled from a security solution focused only on medical devices to a full-suite, one-stop-shop Healthcare IoT cybersecurity platform that covers every threat vector on every connected device. The clinically-intelligent platform automates asset discovery and risk reduction, and takes the evolution of IoT security one step beyond visibility, providing healthcare teams with the ability to not just identify more problems on their network, but to actually solve them and secure their organization to ensure patient safety, data integrity and operational continuity.   For additional information and to view Cynerio solutions, visit   About Cynerio Cynerio is the one-stop-shop Healthcare IoT security platform. With solutions that cater to healthcare's every IT need - from Enterprise IoT to OT and IoMT - we promote cross-organizational alignment and give hospitals the control, foresight, and adaptability they require to stay cyber-secure in a constantly evolving threatscape. We give healthcare organizations the power to stay compliant and proactively manage every connection on their own terms with powerful asset management, threat detection, and mitigation tools so you can focus on healthcare's top priority: delivering quality patient care. For more information visit, or follow Cynerio on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

ALIVE and thriving: Pushing the boundaries of health technology

 An in-heart microcomputer that senses heart failure and directs patients to increase their medication, preventing pulmonary edema. A size-efficient artificial mitral valve that can be delivered trans-catheter and used to treat patients with heart disease. A smartphone-based, digital drug companion that ensures that patients take their medication at the proper time. Prescription digital therapeutics for the treatment of migraines. In 2021, healthcare technology is advancing rapidly, and Israel is at its center.   “We are at a very unique point in the evolution of medical technology, especially with the accelerating convergence of digital health and medical devices,” says Prof. Rafael Beyar.     Few are as qualified to make that assessment as Beyar, a renowned interventional cardiologist, biomedical engineer, and the former director of Rambam Health Care Campus.   Beyar is the co-founder and managing general partner of ALIVE, a $150 million health-tech fund, and has assembled a “med-tech dream team,” headed by Prof. Ari Shamiss, former CEO of Assuta Medical Centers and former director of Sheba Medical Center; Michel Habib, a senior med-tech venture capitalist and former CEO of Hadasit Bio Holdings; and Dudi Klein, former head of ventures and innovation, Assuta Medical Centers. Together, the group invests, supports, and accelerates portfolio companies in their clinical and commercial expansion.   Beyar notes that innovating for the future is an important part of every hospital system – both private and public. “It’s not only treating the patients now – it is looking to the next phase of treatment – not just how to treat them today. For example, Assuta has an innovation arm, which was pivotal in the inception of the ALIVE fund. Innovation becomes very important for the institution itself.”   Beyar says that health-tech funds need to have a thorough understanding of the entire healthcare ecosystem.   “Understanding an emerging company today,” he says, “is not only understanding the technology or the immediate clinical benefit to the patient. It requires understanding the entire atmosphere, including the infrastructure of the hospital as well as an understanding of the economy of the entire healthcare spectrum.”   The ALIVE team, with its extensive experience in all hospital settings, deep technical knowledge, and financial acumen, is uniquely qualified in this area, says Beyar.   There are several factors that differentiate ALIVE from other medical health-tech funds, explains Habib. ALIVE is one of the few funds today that invests both in medical devices and digital health. In addition, it focuses on mid- to late-stage health technology, working with companies that have a more mature and developed vision, with a relatively short time to exit.   Finally, ALIVE is working in conjunction with the Assuta chain of hospitals, the Maccabi health system, and Carilion Clinic in the United States.   “Our medical partners represent the market, and this is a unique asset that we bring to the table when we make investments in those areas. This unique setup of a venture capital fund that is both independent but that has an ecosystem of medical collaborations as part of the fund is very unique in Israel and around the world.”   Habib adds that today, more than ever, healthcare is globally recognized as a critical industry for the future, not less than food security or clean energy.   “Many investments have poured into the development of digital software to advance remote care or remote patient monitoring and management, because of COVID-19 and access restrictions,” he says. “This is just the beginning of a golden age in digital health and other medical technologies and devices, all with the same target of solving medical problems and health challenges that are threatening humanity. The economics of healthcare under COVID and the new needs of how to manage patients and treat them remotely in a more cost-efficient and rapid way are driving a lot of interest into healthcare and innovation in Israel.”   Israel is at the center of the start-up medical nation, says Beyar. There are more than 2,000 companies in Israel working in life sciences, and of those 2,000, more than 600 of them are innovating in the field of digital health.   The term “digital health” is a general term that encompasses many different aspects of healthcare. It can refer to treating patients from home via telemedicine, together with apps that connect the doctor to the patient’s medical records. It can also refer to medical devices that accompany the patient and provide information, such as the in-heart microcomputer mentioned earlier. In addition, big data, the analysis of vast amounts of data from different medical disciplines, such as diabetics, cardiology and oncology, allow doctors to tailor medical treatment for the patient’s individual needs.   Yet another area of digital health is the application of cybersecurity for hospitals to protect their data, operations and medical devices from life-threatening cyberattacks.   CURRENTLY, ALIVE has invested in several companies that are offering promising new technologies, including Medisafe, a company that helps people better manage their medications by sending personalized reminders via a smartphone app; Innovalve Bio Medical, a start-up that is developing catheter-based heart valve therapies; and Magenta Medical, which is developing self-expanding miniaturized high volume pumps for heart-failure patients.   ALIVE is evaluating additional companies for possible investments.   Says Habib, “The companies that we seek are those that have developed the innovation and technology, that now need to focus on the market value-building strategy.”   He adds that these plans require a clear and focused management strategy and high execution capabilities to achieve these goals. ALIVE provides the necessary funding around a very focused business plan that brings the value of these companies from tens of millions to hundreds of millions within two to three years.   “This is the game. This is the equation,” says Habib.   While all of the companies that ALIVE has funded to date are based in Israel, with most having US subsidiaries, the fund itself is global, and its investors are in Israel, the United States and other countries. As part of its global strategy, the fund has been successfully reaching out to the United Arab Emirates both for investments and for collaborative projects with business groups and medical centers in that area.   As Israel and the rest of the world begins to recover from COVID, the ALIVE team is looking forward to making more face-to-face contacts among investors and developers.   Despite the challenges of working in a pandemic year, Habib says, ALIVE has been one of the most active medical technology funds since its initial closing in July 2020.   “When the world will open up, it will increase our capabilities. We need to be supportive of Israeli start-ups because if we don’t do it, no one will. We have a great level of responsibility to our industry. It’s a duty but also an amazing opportunity, as we experience favorable winds for investments.”   By ALAN ROSENBAUM This article was written in cooperation with ALIVE Israel HealthTech Fund.  

Medisafe raises $30 million in Series C led by pharma giant Sanofi

Israeli digital health startup Medisafe announced on Thursday the completion of a $30 million series C funding round led by Sanofi Ventures, the investment arm of one of the world's three leading pharmaceutical companies. The round was co-led by venture capital fund ALIVE Israel Healthtech Fund and included participation by Leumi Partners, Israeli insurance company Menora Mivtachim, the UK-based CBG Group, as well as existing investors Pitango HealthTech, Merck Ventures, 7Wire Octopus Ventures, lool Ventures and OurCrowd. Co-founder of Zebra Medical Vision and angel investor Eyal Gura also invested in the round.   Medisafe had previously raised just $25 million since it was founded in 2012. The company currently employs around 50 people in Israel and the U.S.   Medisafe CEO and co-founder Omri Shor told Calcalist that the new funds will be used to expand the company's workforce, with the aim of doubling the number of staff in the coming years.   "We partner with different drugmakers and our activity with them and the use of our application improves people's usage of medicine," said Shor. "Many patients tend to stop taking medicine without good reason and we help track that and make sure that they continue to follow their prescription.   "The company currently has revenue of several millions of dollars and is displaying nice growth. The digital health market has grown significantly over recent times. People don't want to go to a doctor or visit the pharmacy and anything that is related to remote medicine and digital health has been growing."   Cris De Luca, Global Head, Digital Investments, at Sanofi Ventures, and Dudi Klein, Managing Partner at ALIVE, will join Medisafe's board of directors. "The Covid-19 pandemic has proven to us that supporting patients digitally through virtual treatment and leveraging data-based insights, has become critical to future models of healthcare," noted De Luca.   We had been following Medisafe and witnessed its massive success as the health industry accelerated its usage of digital solutions," said Klein.   Medisafe has developed a platform to manage medicine and has over seven million registered users. The company expanded its platform in 2020 with the launch of Medisafe Care Connector, which digitally connects patients and doctors. "This investment will allow Medisafe to expand its holistic patient journey management solution and affect the behavior of the patient and the quality of the treatment," added Shor. "The future model of supporting patients isn't just digital but is customized to enhance the human connection."

“We know how to identify the companies with potential for business success”

אבחנה מדויקת: עם שני מנכ"לים לשעבר של בתי חולים, קרן אלייב רוצה למצוא את החברות הרפואיות שיהפכו לאקזיט הענק הבא. "זה לא רק הטכנולוגיה שתקבע" זו היתה תקופת השיטפונות של חורף 2019, רגע לפני שהקורונה נכנסה לחיינו בסערה. סביב שולחן אחד ישבו שורה של מנהלים בכירים שצברו יחד עשרות שנות ניסיון בעולם הרפואי והעסקי – שותפים לניהול קרן השקעות חדשה, המתמקדתזז בחברות רפואיות. הנוכחים: פרופ’ רפי ביאר, מנכ”ל בית החולים רמב”ם לשעבר, פרופ’ ארי שמיס, מנכ”ל אסותא לשעבר, מישל חביב, מנכ”ל חברת ההשקעות הדסית ביו הולדינגס לשעבר ודודי קליין, שבתפקידו הקודם עמד בראש מערך החדשנות באסותא. במשך תקופת ההקמה הציפה החבורה סדרה של דיונים מרתוניים והתחבטו לגבי מהות הקרן ומודל הפעולה האידיאלי. “ניהלנו אז המון שיחות ‘אל תוך הגשם'”, מתאר פרופ’ ביאר. “ברקע כבר התחילה התפרצות הקורונה, והחלה אווירה של פאניקה כללית. השווקים קרסו בחדות”, הוא משחזר. “דיברנו הרבה בינינו, למה עכשיו? למה דווקא בתזמון הזה צריך להקים את הקרן, כשהבורסות נופלות והעולם משתנה במהירות? גם שאלנו את עצמנו למה עדיף מודל השקעה בשלב ה־Late Stage? מה חסר לחברות בישראל? איזה צורך יש להן? ואיפה חסר הכסף הגדול יותר?”. לבסוף הצליחו חברי הצוות המכובד לתרגם את הניסיון, הקשרים והידע שצברו למודל ההשקעה שאמור לייצר הרבה מאוד כסף. “הבנו שהכסף חסר בעיקר בקפיצה של חברה בשלה יותר – שיש לה כבר מוצר, שצברה ניסיון וניסתה את המוצר שלה על אנשים, חברה שצריכה את ה־FDA Study או אפילו בשלב מתקדם יותר של החדירה לשוק”, מסביר פרופ’ ביאר, “חברה שצריכה סיוע למצוא את ה־sweet spot (הנקודות האופטימליות) אצל הרופאים ומערכות הבריאות הגדולות – ולהיכנס בגדול. זה בדיוק השלב שבו חברה הופכת להיות גדולה ומכפילה את הערך שלה פי עשרה”. השינוי הגדול וכשהוא מדבר על הכפלת ערך הוא יודע על מה הוא מדבר. ברזומה העשיר שלו רשומים לא מעט סטארט־אפים טכנולוגיים וחברות שפיתחו טכנולוגיה רפואית פורצת דרך והפכו לפרות מניבות. הגדולה והמפורסמת שבהן היא קורינדוס שנולדה בחממת הטכניון והיתה לחברה הראשונה בעולם שפיתחה טכנולוגיה לרובוטיקה בצנתורים בשלט רחוק. החברה נמכרה באוגוסט אשתקד ל־Siemens Healthineers הגרמנית לפי שווי של 1.1 מיליארד דולר, בפרמיה של 90% ממחירה. “קורינדוס ישבה כמה שנים טובות על שווי של 200־100 מיליון דולר לפני שעשתה את הקפיצה בבת אחת”, הוא מספר. מה שהביא לטענתו את השינוי הגדול היתה החדירה לשוק וההתפתחות לתחומים מלהיבים אחרים. “כל עוד החברה התמקדה רק ברובוטיקה לצנתורי לב היא התקדמה לאט והערך שלה לא השתנה דרמטית. מה שהקפיץ אותה היתה היכולת ליצור חלום חדש – התפתחות לתחום חדש וגדול בתחום צנתורי מוח. זאת התפיסה שהלהיבה את הבורסה והקפיצה את הערך של החברה”. אולם, למרות סכום המכירה הנאה זכה פרופ’ ביאר בנתח קטן בלבד מהמכירה, היות והחזקתו בחברה שהקים דוללה באופן משמעותי לאורך השנים. כעת, ייתכן והכניסה שלו כשותף־מנהל לקרן ההשקעות החדשה שהקימו שמיס, קליין וחביב יכולה להוות עבורו הזדמנות מצוינת לתיקון. שתי אהבות כבר בתחילת לימודיו האקדמיים, היה ברור לסטודנט רפי ביאר מה הוא רוצה ללמוד – הנדסה. רק לאחר שהתקבל ללימודי הרפואה החליט לתפוס את ההזדמנות ולפתוח בקריירה רפואית, שתתקדם ותתפתח עד לתפקידי הניהול הבכירים ביותר באקדמיה ובמערכת הבריאות. זה לא אומר שהוא ויתר על החלום הנוסף, ומיד אחרי שהשלים את התואר החליט להוסיף עוד תואר וללמוד הנדסה – מתוך רצון עז לחבר את שני העולמות שכל כך אהב. בהמשך הזדמנות נוספת נפלה לחיקו – להתמנות לדיקן הפקולטה לרפואה בטכניון. זה קרה עוד כשהיה מצנתר בתחילת דרכו, כך שלאחר אישור המינוי הפך ביאר להיות אחד הדיקנים הצעירים בארץ. עם סיום כהונתו המוצלחת חשב הרופא הצעיר שיוכל כעת לחזור לחדר הצנתורים ו”לעבוד בשקט סוף סוף”, אבל אז שוב התערב הגורל בענייניו ודפק על דלתו. מן הצד השני עמדה משלחת בכירים מבית החולים רמב”ם שהפצירה בו להגיש את מועמדותו לניהול בית החולים. “לקחתי את זה באהבה כי בית החולים קרוב מאוד לליבי”, הוא אומר. במהלך 13 השנים הארוכות בתפקיד, המנהל הבכיר של בית החולים הקפיד תמיד להישאר מחובר לשני העולמות החשובים בחייו המקצועיים. הוא המשיך לצנתר במחלקת הקרדיולוגיה של רמב”ם ולא עזב גם את עולם החדשנות. “אני מאוד מעורב בעולם החדשנות ומהבחינה הזו תמיד הייתי יצור די חריג בהשוואה לשאר מנהלי בתי החולים בארץ, שחדשנות טכנולוגית היא בדרך כלל לא הצד החזק שלהם”, מעיד ביאר, “אבל זה תמיד היה משהו שבער בי וההזדמנויות האלו הן בדיוק מהנקודות המיוחדות בחיים שמשקפות עד כמה הם דבר לא מתוכנן, עד כמה חייבים לתפוס את הזדמנויות שנקרות בדרך. כך בדיוק קרה לי גם עם קרן ALIVE”. לאחר כמעט עשור וחצי אינטנסיביים בתפקיד הניהולי הבכיר החליט הפרופסור המכובד לפרוש לשנת שבתון באוניברסיטת ג’ון הופקינס – אך ההזדמנות הבאה, כך מסתבר, חיכתה לו שוב במורד הדרך. או ליתר דיוק, בשיחת טלפון בינלאומית מישראל. על הקו מהצד השני היה פרופ’ ארי שמיס, שבדיוק הקים את קרן ALIVE להשקעה בטכנולוגיות רפואיות והציע לו להצטרף כשותף־מנהל. המסה הקריטית השם ALIVE הוא ראשי תיבות של Assuta Life Ventures. “חיפשנו שם שיהדהד את הערך המוסף של הקרן – השקעות בטכנולוגיות רפואיות מצילות חיים”, אומרים השותפים. פרופ’ שמיס, שחתום על גיבוש מודל הקרן עוד במהלך תפקידו הקודם כמנכ”ל אסותא, ניהל לפני כן את בית החולים שיבא. הוא גם היה מעורב במספר חברות רפואיות שהביאו לאקזיטים נאים. בעברו שימש שמיס כקצין הרפואה הראשי של חיל האוויר. למהלך הקמת הקרן רתם שמיס את ראש מערך החדשנות שלו באסותא, דודי קליין ואת מישל חביב, איש הון סיכון עתיר ניסיון וידע בניהול השקעות בתחום הביומד, שותף לשעבר בקרן MAC ומי שכיהן כמנכ”ל הדסית ביו הולדינגס. “אחד ממודלי החדשנות שהקמנו היה הקמת קרן להשקעות. זה יצר את הניצוץ והתחלנו לשייף את המודל. היה ברור שאנחנו צריכים מישהו מעולם הקרנות שכבר ותיק ומנוסה בעניין, ויש לו את הידע והיכולת להקים את האופרציה הזו. כאן מישל נכנס לתמונה”. “בשלב מתקדם, כשרפי היה לקראת סוף תקופת הכהונה כמנכ”ל רמב”ם, ידענו שיש פה הזדמנות מעולה עבורנו ועבור הקרן והחלטנו לנצל את ההזדמנות ולשכנע אותו להצטרף. זה יצר את המסה הקריטית שממנה הקרן צמחה”. לא רק טכנולוגיה הקרן בנויה למעשה על פי מודל של שותפות אסטרטגית עם קופת החולים מכבי ורשת המרכזים הרפואיים של אסותא, לצד שיתופי פעולה עם המשקיעים העיקריים של הקרן: לאומי פרטנרס, זרוע ההשקעות הריאלית של בנק לאומי, המובילה גיוס של 150 מיליון דולר לקרן, קרן מכבי, חברת ההשקעות CBG (של וינסנט צ’נגוויז) ורשת בתי החולים האמריקאית קריליון קליניק (Carilion Clinic). “כל השותפים בקרן לא נותנים רק ידע וגישה, אלא שמו ממש כסף”, מדגיש פרופ’ שמיס. “סך הכל גייסנו 50 מיליון דולר, מתוך קרן של 150 מיליון דולר. מיולי התחלנו לעשות השקעות ואנחנו ממשיכים לגייס כסף לקרן עד יולי 2021”, מוסיף חביב. המודל מאפשר יכולת איתור וזיהוי של חברות עם פוטנציאל השבחה רב, יכולת ואפשרות לחזק אותן בהיבט הטכנולוגי והניהולי וכן לאפשר להן ליהנות מהיכולות המקצועיות ומערך הקשרים הנרחב של כלל השותפים בקרן. הקרן מתמקדת בהשקעה בחברות הייטק בשלות המפתחות טכנולוגיה רפואית בשלב מתקדם, עם אופק לאקזיט משמעותי בתוך שלוש עד חמש שנים, והיא משקיעה בתחומים מגוונים של טכנולוגיה רפואית הכוללים בין היתר מכשור רפואי, בינה מלאכותית, מערכות לומדות ורפואה דיגיטלית. עד היום השקיעה הקרן במספר חברות והיא עתידה להשקיע בעשר עד 15 חברות נוספות כמשקיע מוביל, במסגרת סבבי גיוס של 40־10 מיליון דולר. השקעה בשלבי בשלות אלה מיועדת למשל למימון ניסויים קליניים נרחבים, השגת אישורים רגולטוריים (דוגמת אישורי FDA), הכללת המוצר תחת כיסוי ביטוחי, וחדירה מסחרית לשווקים בינלאומיים. משקיעים גם בתוכנית העסקית “היתרון שלנו הוא ביכולת להסתכל על טכנולוגיה דרך פריזמה עסקית־אסטרטגית”, אומר חביב. “אנחנו לא משקיעים בטכנולוגיה רק כי היא טובה – זה מה שרוב המשקיעים בשלבים המוקדמים עושים – משקיעים בטכנולוגיה כי היא פורצת דרך, כי היא משבשת, כי היא חדשנית ויש לה פוטנציאל ‘לכבוש את העולם’. הם לא מתעסקים כמונו בשאלה איך כל זה יתממש בעוד כך וכך שנים, זה לא מה שמטריד אותם – אלא רק המו”פ של הטכנולוגיה”, הוא מדגיש. “הדגירה”, כפי שחביב מתאר זאת, התקופה שבה מתפתחת הטכנולוגיה, נמשכת להערכתו כארבע עד חמש שנים. לאחר התקופה הזו, כשהטכנולוגיה מבשילה, גם התפיסה משתנה ומבשילה – מפיתוח עוברים להתעסק בשאלות אסטרטגיות יותר של Go to Market – איך חודרים לשוק, מה מודל המכירות, איך מגייסים, מה יהיה השווי וכדומה. “כאן בדיוק מתבטא היתרון שלנו”. “אנחנו לא מסתכלים על השקעה בחברה. אנחנו מסתכלים על השקעה בתוכנית עסקית ואיך היא מביאה אותנו לנקודה שבה יש בניית ערך משמעותית לחברה”, מרחיב דודי קליין. “בסופו של דבר כמו כל קרן סיכון המטרה פה היא ליצור ערך למשקיעים שלה – לייצר כסף. השאלה היא איך עושים את זה”, הוא מחדד. “אנחנו מתמקדים בסיכוי להצלחה – לפעמים הטכנולוגיה של החברה מדהימה אבל אין לה שום סיכוי להצליח ולפעמים לחברה שאין לה המון טכנולוגיה יש פוטנציאל גדול להצלחה עסקית – אנחנו יודעים לזהות את החברות הללו”.  

ALIVE Fund leads financing round for mitral heart valve maker Innovalve

ALIVE, the healthtech venture capital fund established by Bank Leumi, Maccabi Fund, which is associated with the Israeli health maintenance organization (HMO) Maccabi Healthcare Service, and Israeli medical centers chain Assuta, has announced its first investment. The fund led a $10.5 million investment round in Innovalve Bio Medical Ltd., a company established at the Sheba Medical Center that is in advanced stages of developing technology in the field of cardiology.   ALIVE announced earlier this month that it had secured $150 million from several central investors including Assuta, The Maccabi Fund, Bank Leumi, CBG Asset Management, an investment firm owned by U.K.-based businessman Vincent Tchenguiz and U.S. hospital chain Carilion Clinic. The fund’s directors are Prof. Rafi Beyar, former director of the Rambam Medical Center and dean of the Technion's Faculty of Medicine; Prof. Ari Shamiss who recently retired as CEO of the Assuta Hospital Network and previously managed the Sheba Medical Center; and Michel Habib, the former CEO of Hadasit Bio Holdings Ltd.   Innovalve grew out of inventions and patents developed by Sheba Medical Center experts Prof. Ehud Raanani the director of Sheba’s Cardiovascular and Thoracic Center and Dr. Boris Orlev, head of the center’s Mitral Valve Surgery Unit. The company has developed an artificial mitral valve that can be replaced using a minimally-invasive catheter to help treat patients suffering from heart disease. The company achieved successful results in experiments on animals and is set to apply for FDA approval for human trials in the coming months. Among Innovalve’s investors is Edwards Lifesciences, a leader in cardiological valves.   Insertion of valves is already providing a substitute to heart surgery in many cases, Prof. Beyar told Calcalist. “But Innovalve’s solution is the first of its kind for mitral valves, which poses a particular challenge because of its size and location in the heart. The company’s development may prove very significant for heart patients around the world.”   The ALIVE Fund focuses on investment in late-stage medical device and IT companies that are set for M&A within three to five years.   “We closely examine each company to figure out whether it is mature enough to invest in since each segment has different maturity characteristics,” Habib told Calcalist. “In the software sector, for example, we will only invest in a company that is already selling in the U.S. Companies in the cardiology or brain surgery fields are only suitable for investment once they start human trials. When it comes to orthopedic companies, it’s only after substantial sales in the U.S.”   Healthcare has become a particularly attractive field for investment, particularly following the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, and quite a few large funds are active in it, what is your advantage?   “First of all, our team is made up of very veteran people, both medically and financially, including the former heads of Sheba Medical Center and Rambam Medical Center,” Habib said. “A second advantage is our official cooperation agreements with Assuta and Maccabi and with Carilion Clinic in the U.S., which offers us exceptional access to the most advanced doctors and medical departments in the world. After investing in a company, we are capable of promoting it in Israel and the U.S. through experiments, pilot programs, or sales agreements. This is something that no other fund in Israel and the world can do. A third advantage is our choice to focus on medical device companies, and hardware and software systems.”   “Israeli companies have an entrepreneurial advantage because of the data available to them and the tech training they receive, including in the military. When it comes to the number of medical companies, Israel is on the same level as the Silicon Valley, but here development is 20 times cheaper, “said Beyar.   And yet, we do not see many foreign funds that are active in the medical sector here.   “Many of them are active here through partnerships with local funds or only begin investing in later stages,” Beyar said. “These days, when it is more difficult to gain access to foreign funds because of travel restrictions, it is vital that Israeli funds take the lead and draw the foreign funds and corporations in their wake.”