Valley National Bancorp is investing in The Garage, which isn’t related to cars, or any of the other “stuff” that makes its way into the stalls adjacent to your home.
The Garage is an Israel-based venture capital fund backed by Bank Leumi and BRM Group that invests in and builds early-stage startups operating in the fintech, AI and cyber sectors. And on Aug. 4, Valley announced a $25 million infusion in the VC.
“Innovation plays a critical role in everything we are building at Valley,” Chief Product Officer Stuart Cook said in a statement. “Our goal is to challenge the traditional approach to banking by operating on the forefront of technology and innovation.”
The Garage was founded and is managed by Omer Nagar, Eyal Redler and Shay Dan. The trio have more than 60 years of cumulative experience in R&D, technology and strategic global operations, according to Valley. Additionally, they all formerly served in high-ranking positions with the Israel Defense Forces’ intelligence and tech units.
Its backers are also based in Israel: Bank Leumi is one of the country’s leading financial institutions, while family-owned BRM’s initial investment dates back to 1993, Valley said.
“We are excited to start working with Valley,” Nagar, The Garage’s CEO, said in a statement. “This is another important milestone in The Garage’s plan to allow Israeli tier-1 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.”
Valley closed on its acquisition of Bank Leumi’s U.S. subsidiary earlier this year.
“One of our key strategic goals is to ensure long-term relevance in a constantly changing banking environment,” Valley CEO Ira Robbins 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.”
According to Cook, The Garage is “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.”