NGT3 VC focused exclusively on early‐stage life-science technologies located in Israel
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Zohar Gendler, 58 years old, father of two, proud grandfather of two. I have a BA in physics and a MSc in Material Engineering, both from the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology. I have nearly 30 years of experience in the startup world, both as a CEO of a startup company and as a CEO of incubators and investment firms supporting startups in Israel. During my career, I was part of the establishment teams of over 70 companies, some of them are Israel’s largest exits in the medical field: Mazor Robotics, (sold to Medtronic for $1.6B), Prolor Biotech (sold to OPKO, $480M), ReWalk (NASDAQ: RWLK), Corindus (sold to Siemens, $1.1B), and many others.
Please tell us about NGT3
NGT3 is an Israeli VC focused exclusively on early‐stage life-science technologies, located in Nazareth, Israel’s largest Arab city in Israel. We are a relatively small investment vehicle, leveraging substantial funding from Israel’s Innovation Authority (IIA), as holders of a franchise to operate a technological incubator. The financial meaning of the franchise is extensive non-dilutive funding as the Israeli Government is investing $6 on every $1 that the franchise holder is investing in a portfolio company.
Currently we have 23 portfolio companies in various fields and stages. Our aim is to take our portfolio companies from initial establishment and lead them to become financially‐healthy companies with successful product lines and to achieve high ROI to our investors. We have a strong base of Israeli and international investors who have been our trusted partners for many years.
Alongside our business goals, we have a social impact model with a vision to propel healthcare and life-saving technologies, encourage Arab society, and contribute to a stronger economy and an inclusive and equitable Israeli society. Our fund is structured as a solid impact model aligned with the UN SDGs.
In which kind of startups does NGT3 invest?
Early stage medical technologies with outstanding technologies, solid teams (at times we build them), with a clear market need and a large market, strong IP, and a clear regulatory pathway. In addition, our startups have to be able to reach a meaningful milestone (preferably FIH) within 2-3 years and a limited funding.
How can startups apply for an investment?
Simple – give us a call, send us an email. We are well known in Israel, entrepreneurs reach us very easily (www.ngt3vc.com).
How does your selection process work?
Our selection process is a serious all-encompassing DD, which includes initial conversations to understand the key issues and to try to identify obstacles. It continues with an expert who examines the technology, speaks to relevant people – physicians, industry experts, etc., to understand the need and solution, market, etc. If, at the end of this process, we still wish to continue, the project will then be presented to our investment committee, which is an independent committee that includes experts in various fields and, if they approve, then it reaches our Board of Directors for the final decision.
But, that is not the end. Once approved, it goes to an examiner on behalf of the Innovation Authority, for the IIA internal examination, and to the final committee for approval.This process can take anywhere from 4-9 months.
Do you think there is a right time to start a startup?
Yes. The market is open for investments in early-stage medical technologies. Establishing a startup especially in the medical fields is a marathon followed by an iron man. It is a long difficult road, and there is no right time to start a company – if you are an entrepreneur by nature, passionate about your technology and innovation, you start the journey. Timing has a major part in the success or failure of startups, part of the luck component, but that isn’t under our control. Many times, most start with one idea, and then end up with a different product. So, one should take the leap and jump in.
What does your normal workday look like?
Having 23 portfolio companies in various stages is similar to having 23 children – at different ages with different needs. In any case, it is very demanding and challenging but also very interesting and stimulating. My day includes many meetings with relevant companies – sometimes I spend a day with a portfolio company dealing with its issues such as fundraising, meeting investors and strategic partners, regulation, IP, BusDev, Boards, networking, etc. Other days are focused on DD on new companies – in talks and discussions with entrepreneurs, and some days my attention is with the Israeli IIA, startup forums, etc.
Until Covid 19, my days included much traveling and meeting with people both in Israel and overseas. This past year, my days were mostly endless zoom meetings. Luckily, we were able to raise funds for 11 companies just this past year, without any real meetings, not to mention boarding an airplane. It was an important lesson to all, and validated what we knew – that our companies are exceptional.
You have some experience with startups and young founders, so can you tell us first-hand what the biggest mistakes of young founders are?
Thinking they know all and have to do all by themselves. A startup demands very close work with a lot of people – subcontractors, investors, employees, consultants, and board members. It is important to build the winning team, with the best people, and once that is done, rely on them and let them do their work.
What are your top 3 tips for founders?
It is a long journey, surround yourself with excellent people that you trust and can work with. Listen to them, nurture your interpersonal relations. These people are your main asset.
Be open minded, never stop learning.
Don’t give up. Be persistent, eventually a door will open.
Thank you Zohar Gendler for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.