Greylock Expands into Europe and Israel

Greylock is intensifying its focus on European and Israeli investment with the promotion of Moshe Mor to general partner. Mor, the former CEO of software company SPL WorldGroup joined Greylock as a CEO-in-residence in December 2000 and was made a venture partner in September 2001.

Of the 13 new deals Greylock did in the past 18 months, three were in Israel and one was in Europe. “We used the last 18 months as a trial run,” says Mor, who is based in Greylock’s San Mateo, Calif. office and spends one week out of five in Israel. “We came up with a strategy of how we want to go about it. We have decided not to establish an office there, but to establish partnerships.”

Greylock’s strategy involves partnering with local firms in Israel and Europe, co-leading deals and then bringing those companies to the U.S.

“While [Israeli companies] have very strong technology, entrepreneurs and staying power, their number one challenge is building the business and marketing skills to take their technology to the market,” Mor says. “What I’m mostly busy with is recruiting executives and setting up headquarters here.”

Greylock co-invested with Sequoia Capital in the $12.5 million Series B round of HyperRoll, an Israeli developer of processors for storage network applications; co-invested with Benchmark Capital in the $10 million initial financing of Siliquent, Israeli-based developer of processors for storage network applications; co-invested with Pitango and Fidelity Ventures in Cash-U, an Israeli developer of a platform for mobile entertainment applications; and invested with Accel Partners in Ireland’s Cape Clear, a software firm that provides a platform and rapid deployment capabilities for Web services.

Mor also says that Greylock is taking advantage of the community of Israeli entrepreneurs that exist in Silicon Valley and to a lesser extent in Boston. He cites Greylock’s investment in Decru, which was founded by Israeli entrepreneur Dan Avida, a co-founder of Electronics for Imaging.

Greylock will remain more active in Israeli hi-tech than in Europe. Most of Israel’s companies, according to Mor, are located within a 15-mile area around Tel Aviv. Mor says. Most of the European companies Greylock is looking at are in Ireland and the U.K.

The overseas investments fit Greylock’s emphasis on hi-tech content, security and storage. “One of the areas that Israel and Europe are leading the U.S. is in wireless, especially wireless data,” says Mor. “What we’re looking for now is the marrying of technology with homeland security applications.”

Email Matthew Sheahan