Valley National Bancorp on Thursday announced a $25 million investment in the Garage, a venture capital fund that builds and invests in early-stage startups in the fields of fintech, artificial intelligence and cyber.
The fund is backed by Bank Leumi, the leading bank in Israel, and by BRM Group, a seasoned Israel-based family office with a proven track record that started with its initial investment in Check-Point in 1993.
The Garage was founded and is managed by Omer Nagar, Eyal Redler and Shay Dan, who formerly served in high-ranked positions in elite Israeli Defense Forces intelligence and technology units, bringing over 60 cumulative years of experience in research & development, technology and strategic global operations.
Valley officials said they have made a strategic investment in the Garage to support the bank’s digital transformation efforts while giving the rising number of Israeli fintech startups a fast lane to the U.S. market. Following the unique model built in Israel by the Garage with Bank Leumi, Valley intends to form a designated team in the bank that will enable the Garage’s portfolio companies quick and effective integration into Valley’s systems.
Stuart Cook, Valley’s chief product officer, said innovation is a key to the bank’s vision and mission moving forward.
As the principal subsidiary of Valley National Bancorp, Valley National Bank is a regional bank with approximately $54 billion in assets. Valley is committed to giving people and businesses the power to succeed. Valley operates many branch locations and commercial banking offices across New Jersey, New York, Florida, Alabama, California and Illinois.
“Our goal is to challenge the traditional approach to banking by operating on the forefront of technology and innovation,” he said. “We’ve found a partner in the Garage that is leading this charge and radically altering the financial services landscape forever by taking on the world’s biggest challenges in fintech, AI and cyber.
“Together with the Garage, we’ll be able to bring the vision of these aspiring startups to life by accelerating their access to the U.S. market and providing the banking solutions they need to be successful.”
Omer Nagar, CEO of the Garage, said his team is eager to begin the partnership.
“This is another important milestone in the Garage’s plan to allow Israeli tier-one entrepreneurs a one-stop shop to take them from the initial investment through to a game-changing design partnership with Bank Leumi, and all the way to the heart of the U.S. market at Valley,” he said.
Valley CEO Ira Robbins shared his enthusiasm.
“One of our key strategic goals is to ensure long-term relevance in a constantly changing banking environment,” he said. “The Garage was the best partner to help us achieve this goal. Their vision, combined with tremendous human capital, made them the ideal partner to help us lead the way in reshaping the financial sector through innovation and cutting-edge technology.”