by Raphael Poch
First Israeli company to go public in Singapore dedicated to - you guessed it - helping create startups.
Trendlines goes public in Singapore - Gabi Heller, Trendlines’ CFO;
Chew Sutat, Executive Vice President
The corporation which goes by the name of Trendlines Group, is based out of two locations in Israel. The first incubator is located in the Galilean town of Misgav and focuses on creating medical startup companies. The second incubator is in the Gush Etzion industrial complex and focuses on generating startups that improve agricultural technology.
Corporation Chairmen and CEO’s of Todd Dollinger and Steve Rhodes spoke to Arutz Sheva about the unique story that is their company.
“We create and develop companies that help improve the human condition,” said Dollinger, as he was returning from his recent visit to the Gush Etzion incubator named Agtech. “We don’t simply focus on technology alone, there are plenty of other incubators, startups and companies that do that. We only focus on starting companies that help people. That is why we chose the fields of agriculture and medicine.”
Currently, Trendlines has invested in 49 companies, having helped create or incubate all of them. “We aren’t a Venture Capital (VC),” said Rhodes. He explained in layman’s terms what the differences are between a VC and Trendlines. “A VC will often charge a fee to investors, and sometimes take a percentage of return investments, we are a corporation. That means, when people invest in us, they have a piece of everything we do, and there are no separate investment tracks,” he added.
The choice to go public was made to help investors around the world be able to invest in the corporation easily and at an early stage in the game, in order to have high returns on their investment.
“What we do is a win win for everyone,” said Dollinger, “We help create new innovations that help people, while at the same time we do well in business and we do well for our investors,” he said.
Rhodes added that the company takes very special care to choose wisely the startups that they help. “We actually start the companies we invest in, and they sit in our premises for the first two years, they get to use our facilities, our HR and financial departments as well as learn from the expertise around them.” The idea behind the incubators is exactly that. to connect Trendlines with their portfolio companies making them, at the end of the day better companies with more stability.
Dollinger said that the companies are started based upon need. “We start a lot of the companies, or invest in companies based upon how the specific technology we are looking to create is needed.
When asked why they chose to have their incubator in Gush Etzion, a region that has seen a lot of terror attacks recently, the pair of CEO’s answered that it was a blessing. “When we acquired the incubator, it had a license to operate in Judea and Samaria. The government licenses incubators based upon regional locations, and this one we felt was a great location."
"Gush Etzion is wonderful in that it provides us access to a highly educated populace both in Gush Etzion and in Jerusalem. We also have access to the Har Hevron area which provides us with a lot of people and resources as well,” they said.
When asked why they chose Singapore specifically to go public in, they said that “there has been a lot of interest from Asian investors, so it seemed like the right idea to make it easy for them to invest. Some of the Asian investors have already made investments in some of our portfolio companies that we have created. We came away with a greatly successful first week, so it doesn’t seem like a mistake at this point,” they quipped.
According to Dollinger and Rhodes the additional capital received from the IPO will allow Trendlines to grow their company and their portfolio companies faster. “We will use it to take our companies international, but the key area for us, is to really expand our agricultural investments in Gush Etzion. When we look back through the decades, agricultural technology has been one of the earliest fields in which Israel became a world leader.”
“It is a very exciting time for us,” they added. “Due to the large influx in capital, we are at a new time when we can do a lot more for our companies. That means that we can do a lot more for our share holders and essentially we can do a lot more for Israel.”
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