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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The man who sells Europe on Israel

We enjoy selling Israel to the European investor community,” says Edouard Cukierman.

Shortly after leaving Paris for Israel at age 18, Edouard Cukierman began building cross-continental economic bridges. He’s now chairman of the largest investment team in Israel.

“It is easier to be an entrepreneur in Israel than in Europe,” states Edouard Cukierman, French-born founder and chairman of the largest investment team in Israel. “But it’s easier to raise money in Europe for an IPO.”
That simple evaluation underlies the successful strategy of Cukierman & Co. Investment House, which since 1993 has been involved in raising about €4 billion mainly for Israeli startups and mature companies.
Cukierman, 47, spoke with ISRAEL21c days before the 10th Go4Europe Conference in Tel Aviv, the biggest event organized by an investment bank in Israel. Through this venue, Cukierman & Co. promotes cross-continental relationships in high-tech, biotech and green-tech.
“The first edition, in 1997, had 50 participants, while last year we had 1,200 including 400 that came especially from Europe,” he relates. “Every year we have more and more people interested in being exposed to Israeli technology and investment opportunities.”
While Israeli startups typically set their sights on North America, Cukierman points out that Europe was Israel’s first trading partner and is still the biggest world market in terms of purchasing power parity.
“If you look at the number of IPOs and funds raised through IPOs in Europe since 2005, more money was raised in Europe than in the US. Yet almost no Israeli investment bank had been looking at that market.”