There’s A New Government In Israel — What Does It Mean for Israeli Fintech?

After almost two years of a political deadlock without much of a functioning government, Israel finally has a new government. So, what does this mean for Israeli Fintech?

According to the coalition agreements, the new government is committed to reducing regulation, removing bureaucratic barriers, and promoting digitization of government services. Furthermore, it is setting a national goal of raising the number of hi-tech workers to 15% of the entire workforce by the year 2026. Prime Minister Bennet, a former high-tech entrepreneur himself, who also served as Minister of Economics, is familiar with the enormous potential of Israel’s hi-tech and fintech sectors and is expected to lead growth enhancing reforms.

One of the first reforms that is expected to pass is the new Designated Exchange Act, which allows for new technological exchanges to serve the local ecosystem. This reform will unlock new opportunities for growth, open the exchange landscape to competition and innovation, and provide access to liquidity for thousands of startups in the fintech and crypto sector.

Why is this an opportunity for Simetria?

Simetria is setting up Israel’s first digital securities exchange, which will be subject to the Israeli Securities Law and regulatory supervision of the Israeli Securities Authority (ISA). On 16.2.2021, Simetria was granted a ruling by ISA that allows it to operate as a digital securities marketplace, without requiring Simetria to obtain a securities exchange license.

There are no available licenses for alternative exchanges under Israeli Securities Law, unlike the United States where the SEC allows trading platforms to register as a broker-dealer and be approved as an alternative trading system, or in the EU where a multilateral trading facility (MTF) is a self-regulated financial trading venue. Additionally, the only clearing and settlement house in Israel is 100% owned by the incumbent Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) — but things are about to change.

So what’s next?

The first main task for the new Government is to pass the State Budget Law which incorporates government bills and legislative amendments that are necessary in order for the government to fulfill its economic policy (known as the “Arrangements/Hesderim Law”). This Law, which is expected to pass within the next three months, includes a brand new legislative act called the Designated Exchange Act. This charter is a real game changer that will allow Simetria to operate as a globally licensed exchange that runs on DLT.

To sum it all up: A new Israeli government was formed, new legislation is underway, and Simetria is about to become Israel’s first digital exchange. Stay tuned.

This post was initially published on Medium

Simetria & Algorand Partner to Launch The First Digital Securities Exchange in Israel

Simetria, an Israeli digital securities exchange that will soon be launched with regulatory approval, today announced a partnership with Algorand, a leading blockchain technology company accelerating the convergence of decentralized and traditional finance. The partnership comes on the heels of the reveal last week by Simetria Founder and CEO Ziv Keinan of the demo of the new DLT based platform which allows private companies to meet liquidity for the benefit of their employees, founders and VCs. Private companies and VCs are now able to onboard illiquid assets on Simetria and enjoy access to capital including Ownera’s FinP2P global network of financial institutions.

Simetria will be building its next-generation securities exchange on Algorand as it looks towards leveraging advanced blockchain technology to disrupt market infrastructures with its innovative digital exchange. Algorand brings speed, scalability, and transaction finality needed for bridging the gap between traditional financial offerings and decentralized solutions. Simetria will be using Algorand to ensure its digital exchange is built from the ground up on the best available blockchain technology in order for the company to scale internationally. 

Adv. Ziv Keinan, Simetria’s Founder and CEO: “We are excited to be working with Algorand to execute on our vision at Simetria and look forward to how our collective efforts will result in huge potential in the digital securities space. Private companies will soon be able to list digital securities for trade on Simetria’s platform to gain liquidity and raise capital — all in a seamless manner on Algorand’s blockchain, which was purpose-built for this type of use.”

“We recognize Simetria’s leadership in the Israeli market and share an aligned vision of leveraging blockchain to expand opportunities and open new markets with blockchain-based solutions for private capital,” said Pietro Grassano, Business Solutions Director at Algorand. “We are excited to welcome them to the Algorand community as they launch their robust product in Israel and then internationally.”

About Simetria

Simetria is creating the first digital securities exchange that focuses on private Israeli technology companies. The revolutionary marketplace uses digital securities technology based on blockchain for this undertaking. Simetria received a preliminary ruling from the ISA which allows it to launch for the first time as a digital trading platform for securities, which includes a DLT settlement component in the system. Simetria allows Israeli companies to list shares on its platform which would then be offered to accredited investors in Israel and around the world. 

Simetria is the first company in Israel prepared to launch a DLT-based digital securities exchange that transforms the end-to-end lifecycle of a private security for both primary issuance and secondary market trading. The exchange will be launched within the Israeli startup ecosystem first, with an international launch to follow. Simetria’s goal is to become the future trading infrastructure of Israel.         

About Algorand

Algorand is building the technology to power the Future of Finance (FutureFi), the convergence of traditional and decentralized models into a unified system that is inclusive, frictionless, and secure. Founded by Turing Award-winning cryptographer Silvio Micali, Algorand developed a blockchain infrastructure that offers the interoperability and capacity to handle the volume of transactions needed for decentralized finance (DeFi), financial institutions, and governments to smoothly transition into FutureFi. The technology of choice for more than 500 global organizations, Algorand is enabling the simple creation of next-generation financial products, protocols and exchange of value. For more information, visit www.algorand.com.

This post was initially published on Algorand

Simetria Gets Israel’s Approval for Digital Securities Offering Platform

Simetria announced on Wednesday that the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) has accepted a request for a preliminary ruling by the firm, allowing it to launch a digital securities offering platform in the country.

The Israeli company is now planning to launch the platform in May 2021, which will be the first digital securities platform in Israel. It will allow private companies to tokenize their securities and allow Israeli and global accredited investors to invest in them.

“ISA’s decision is a dramatic milestone towards the establishment of a digital securities exchange in Israel,” said Ziv Keinan, Simetria’s Founder and CEO. “Private companies will soon be able to list digital securities for trade on Simetria’s platform to gain liquidity and raise capital.” 

The trend of securities tokenization is heating up around the world. Many countries have approved platforms to tokenize securities as the usage of blockchain can make the existing market structure more efficient.

“ISA’s decision, published today, brings Israel to the forefront of technology and innovation alongside other countries who already endorse digital securities platforms,” Keinan added.

“This decision will enhance the liquidity of assets for shareholders, founders and employees of private companies, including Israel’s fast-growing tech industry,” Simetria’s Chairman, Ami Ben David said. He is also optimistic that this will open up share purchase opportunities for Israeli and global financial institutions that are interested in investing in the growth opportunities offered by Israeli startups.

Blockchain Is the Future

Backed by Draper Goren Holm, the Israeli company is now seeking a permit that would allow it to settle digital securities using distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Though Simetria’s services will be first launched in Israel within the country’s startup ecosystem, the company has plans to expand its services globally.

“Today marks a monumental win for not only Simetria but for Israel and the global financial system as a whole,” Alon Goren, Founding Partner at Draper Goren Holm, said. “With the nation already being a leading tech behemoth, it is exciting to see their financial regulators leading the global charge toward a world where all shares will be digitized.”

This post was initially published on FinanceMagnets

Simetria Names Ilan Steiner as Chief Operations Officer

Israeli digital securities exchange, Simetria announced the appointment of the former director of currency and member of the executive management at the Bank of Israel, Ilan Steiner as the company’s new Chief Operations Officer (COO).

Ziv Keinan, CEO of Simetria expressed his happiness to welcome Steiner as the new COO because of his extensive experience in global financial regulations. The digital exchange aims to take advantage of the proven track record of Steiner related to domestic and global financial collaborations.

Steiner was named the global currency manager of the year in 2019 for his work in positioning the Bank of Israel as a world leader in currency innovation among 140 countries. During his time at the Bank of Israel, Steiner worked on several projects related to innovation and transformational change. Steiner also served as Deputy Director General at the Israel Competition Authority.

Commenting on the matter, Keinan said: “Dr. Steiner has tremendous experience in understanding the Israeli and global financial systems and relations with global institutions. That is what our team is focused on, bringing DLT advantages to Israel and the global financial system.”

“Dr. Steiner is a huge win for the Simetria team and for the Draper Goren Holm portfolio,” Alon Goren, Founding Partner of Draper Goren Holm and Simetria Investor said in a statement.

Expansion Plans

Simetria plans to expand partnerships in local and international markets to connect Israel with innovative technology providers worldwide. The joining of Steiner will help the digital exchange create value for local technology companies.

Ilan Steiner

“I’m both eager and proud to join Simetria’s team as COO and look forward to working with CEO Ziv Keinan to realize the vision of becoming Israel’s first digital exchange. Simetria is a pioneer in every aspect, I hold great confidence in its ability to deliver its mission and create significant value for local Israeli technology companies seeking liquidity, as well as for the financial institutions seeking to access the financial potential of investing in this sector,” said Steiner.

This post was initially published on FinanceMagnets

Draper Goren Holm Bets on Israeli Tech Startup Scene with Simetria Investment

Fintech venture firm Draper Goren Holm (DGH) is today announcing an investment in Simetria, an Israeli digital securities exchange. According to an announcement shared with Finance Magnates, Simetria will leverage Ownera’s financial peer-to-peer (FinP2P) network to connect growth-stage tech companies in Israel with larger institutional investors from around the globe.

Additionally, the announcement said thatSimetria is set to become a part of the Ownera digital securities network, which is also in DGH’s portfolio.

“There is a unique window of opportunity right now in Israel for a digital securities exchange” added Adv. Ziv Keinan, the new head of Simetria. Mr. Keinan is the former chief operating officer of Ownera, as well as an accomplished corporate and securities lawyer with extensive experience in the digital assets space.

“The Israeli Private Tech Market Was already Extremely Attractive but Only a Few Investors Had Access to It.”

“The Israeli private tech market was already extremely attractive but only a few investors had access to it,” he said. “The recent peace announcements will also drive investments into the space, and the regulatory environment supports the project and the DLT technology it uses to connect investors to tech companies.”

Ami Ben David, co-founder of Ownera, further commented on Israel’s robust startup ecosystem: “the Israeli tech scene had several incredible years, and we believe we can bring the best companies from the ‘startup nation’ to a global institutional investor base via our digital securities network.” Mr. David will serve as the acting chairperson of the Simetria Board.

Josef Holm, Founding Partner of Draper Goren Holm, also commented, saying that digital securities will play an important role in the future of investments.

Ziv Keinan, the new head of digital securities exchange Simetria.

“We have been strong supporters and early believers in the digital securities movement, and this is a natural extension of our investments and deep hands-on involvement with the leaders in the space, and the networks that form around them,” he said.

Indeed, introducing a method of bringing in foreign capital to the Israeli startup scene could supercharge a movement that has already been gaining momentum

Data from the German statistics firm, Statista shows that investments in Israeli startups have been increasing on a fairly steady plane from 2013 to 2019.

For example, in the first quarter of 2013, the value of foreign and domestic investments in high-tech startups in Israel totaled $397 million; by 2016, it reached over $1 billion. In Q1 of 2019, it reached nearly $2.3 billion.

This post was initially published on FinanceMagnets