ConteXtream Seeded by BGV – By Eric Benhamou
In 1994, a long time before Israel became known as Start-Up Nation, I met a young company named NiceCom, an early technology leader in the emerging field of ATM switching. The company was then a subsidiary of Nice and was lead by Nachman Shelef. Sharon Barkai was one of his most creative engineers. At the time, I was running 3Com. We decided to acquire NiceCom that year. This was the transaction that ignited interest in Israeli high tech and unleashed a floodgate of successful start-up exits in the field. Twelve years later, I hooked up with Nachman and Sharon in the lobby of the Tel Aviv Hilton. That time, we discussed their latest ideas about re-injecting innovation in the dormant, Cisco dominated, networking industry. The concepts they were describing to me had true break-through potential. I decided to invest in their budding company ConteXtream on the spot. This is how BGV became ConteXtream’s first seed investor. I talked to Sharon again this past week to reflect upon the path traveled since our initial meeting.