Teddy Sagi not scared by Brexit - continues expand business empire in Israel & UK

Teddy Sagi

Born in Israel and resident of the U.K., Teddy Sagi has been an integral facet of recent rounds of funding in Israel. Chiefly, Sagi invested $3 million in SmartGreen Ltd., which was announced by Sagi’s business group. He’s something of a British business magnate. His mobile ad firm, Glispa Global Group, generates considerable revenue, as does his online gambling game developer, Playtech PLC. Sagi also owns Camden Market, which is a retail franchise that sells fast food, clothes and collectible objet d’art, and Camden Market relies on the clean energy technology of SmartGreen in whom he’s investing.

SmartGreen was founded in Rehovot, Israel in 2014, and it both develops and markets its energy regulation system. It’s a system that not only regulates consumption thereof but also facilitates energy monitoring and optimization. All sorts of different businesses and institutions use SmartGreen’s technology—hospitals, schools, factories, malls, commercial and industrial facilities, among others. SmartGreen’s consumers include large corporations all over the world like Tel Aviv’s own Shufersal Ltd., which is the largest grocery franchise in the country. Other consumers, though, include McDonald’s Israel, HP Inc. and China Light & Power Company Ltd. The latter is based in Hong Kong.

SmartGreen CEO Nati Freiberg told Calcalistech, “Buildings are responsible for 55% of the global energy consumption, which amounts to around $1 trillion a year. Only 1% of buildings currently have systems for energy and operational management.” SmartGreen has proven itself capable, as its website explains in detail, of mitigating energy consumption by as much as 25 percent without even needing to update equipment, which would require investment. The company, however, only employs 15 people. The latest announcement from the company indicates that the firm intends to double its workforce in the near future.

It’s a significant investment for SmartGreen, but it’s another milestone on an investment trend observed from Sagi as of late. He says, however, that it’s not just about an investment trend on his part but more about the effects of uncertainty on global markets in comparison to Israeli markets. He claims that Israeli markets react to global uncertainty a lot differently than those of other economies, and he says that this is one of the primary motivations that pushed him to pursue this investment among others recently.

Sagi’s hardly the only one who feels this way. Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem said as much at the Calcalist London Tech conference this year. The event was attended by some 500 people on an invite-only list for a three-day, social event at the Radio Rooftop Bar in London. At the conference, Barkat told Calcalistech, “There’s no doubt in my mind that the uncertainty that we see in the world today is an advantage for Israelis: when things are in doubt we are like fish in water.”

Israel’s economy is robust regardless and is, therefore, in a good position for its private sector to thrive under many conditions. The tech market in Israel is one that rivals that of India and even Silicon Valley, let alone those of Japan, the U.K. or South Korea where airports are now manned by robot guides. What distinguishes Israel’s technology sector from others, though, is its insulation within an economy that tends to thrive on the uncertainty that plagues other economies. When uncertainty abounds, investors in the U.S., the U.K. and many other developed economies turn to Israel in order to hedge their bets, which makes for substantial market growth in Israeli tech.

It definitely inspires long-term confidence in the availability of financing for Israeli tech overall, which is important during a time when financing rounds are becoming increasingly selective in Israel. Prior to investing $3 million in SmartGreen Ltd., Sagi also committed to two investments at the Calcalist conference in early September. He told Calcalist onsite, “I’m a great believer in the British economy,” which is demonstrated by his dominance in the U.K.

Sagi told Calcalist, “The Brexit caused confusion and uncertainty among investors from all over the world, but here business is as usual. There are great opportunities in London.” European investors have all been forced to contend with the effects of Brexit, which has significantly impinged upon the British economy. It has resulted thus far in the devaluation of the Pound, and it has disadvantaged British importers who have lost and continue to lose money in the increasingly long run. Sagi, however, knows the British economy intimately enough, as one who is heavily invested in it, to know that the opportunities are still there and worth pursuing on the parts of Israeli investors in much the same way he and others are taking advantage of the economic climate in Israel.

Israel has become a sort of economic haven for venture capitalists and angel investors. As such, when major cornerstones of the global economy tug too harshly on the intricate network of purse strings from various other countries, Israel is one of the main sites to which investors turn to continue profiting at a normal rate during times of uncertainty. Like many of them, Sagi was quick to take advantage of these favorable economic conditions. At Calcalist 2017, Sagi agreed in about half an hour to two separate deals requiring investments of $1 million a piece from him.

Sagi invested these sums in Shupperz Ltd. and Worldwide Prep Ltd. Additionally, he offered to connect Reporty Homeland Security Ltd., a mobile app for an emergency call service, with Camden Lock businesses, ownership of which he has spent the last three years solidifying. Finally, he also announced “Labs,” which is reportedly Sagi’s new business venture that establishes 30 new shared offices in London and several out of London. One such office is already under construction in Tel Aviv.