JERUSALEM, Aug 16 (Reuters) – The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) on Sunday launched a secondary market aimed at boosting local investment in Israel’s technology sector.
Called TASE UP, the market is an electronic platform that allows private companies to access investment from institutional and other investors. These companies, however, will remain private and not be subject to any reporting or prospectus-publishing requirements under Israel’s securities law.
Ittai Ben-Zeev, chief executive of the TASE, told reporters that more than 90% of investment in Israel’s high-tech start-ups comes from foreign investors. Over the past decade more than 10,000 start-ups have been established, with capital raised by the tech sector topping $55 billion.
The exchange has long sought to lure technology businesses to no avail. Most Israeli high-tech companies list on other bourses, most notably the Nasdaq in the United States, or find private financing sources and end up being bought by multinationals.
Israel’s tech sector is a key economic growth driver and accounts for nearly 10% of the country’s employment.
Despite the sector being one of the largest in the world, Ben-Zeev said that the TASE attracts “a very low percentage of investment from Israeli institutions”.
To that end, the exchange is working with the country’s innovation authority to support tech companies while encouraging them to list on TASE UP.
“By doing so, we believe that we will guarantee that the growth of the Israeli high-tech (sector) will remain a vital part of the Israeli economy through the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. This is our vision,” Ben-Zeev told Reuters after an online news conference.
As part of the plan, the TASE is teaming up with international investment bank Jefferies and others to support local tech companies that raise funds on the new platform.
Reporting by Steven Scheer
Editing by David Goodman