Valley National Bancorp announced Thursday a $25 million investment in Garage, a venture capital fund that builds and invests in early-stage fintech, artificial intelligence and cyber startups.
The fund is backed by Bank Leumi, the leading bank in Israel, and by BRM Group, an experienced Israel-based family office with a proven track record that started with its first investment in Check-Point in 1993.
The Garage was founded and is led by Omer Nagar, Eyal Redler and Shay Dan, who previously served in high-ranking positions in elite Israeli Defense Forces intelligence and technology units, with over 60 cumulative years of experience in research and development, technology and strategic global operations.
Valley officials said they made a strategic investment in Garage to support the bank’s digital transformation efforts while giving the growing number of Israeli fintech startups a fast track to the U.S. market. Following the unique model built in Israel by Garage with Bank Leumi, Valley intends to form a designated team in the bank that will enable Garage’s portfolio companies to quickly and efficiently integrate into Valley’s systems.
Stuart Cook, Valley’s head of product, said innovation is a key to the bank’s vision and mission going 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 empowering people and businesses to succeed. Valley operates numerous branches and commercial banking offices throughout New Jersey, New York, Florida, Alabama, California and Illinois.
“Our aim is to challenge the traditional approach to banking by operating at the forefront of technology and innovation,” he said. “We have found a partner in Garage who is leading this venture and radically changing the financial services landscape forever by taking on the world’s biggest challenges in fintech, AI and cyber.
“Together with the Garage, we will be able to bring the vision of these ambitious startups to life by accelerating their access to the US market and providing the banking solutions they need to succeed.”
Omer Nagar, CEO of Garage, said his team is eager to start the partnership.
“This is another important milestone in Garage’s plan to provide Israeli tier-one entrepreneurs with a one-stop shop to take them from the initial investment to a game-changing design partnership with Bank Leumi, and all the way to the heart of the US market in the Valley ,” he said.
Valley CEO Ira Robbins shared his enthusiasm.
“One of our key strategic goals is to ensure long-term relevance in an ever-changing banking environment,” he said. “The Garage was the best partner to help us achieve this goal. Their vision, coupled 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.”