Esh, a new digital bank led by Palo Alto Networks founder Nir Zuk, has raised 100 million NIS (approximately $28.5 million) from Clal Insurance to acquire a 5% stake in the bank. The investment comes at his NIS 1.7 billion (approximately $485 million) valuation, and Clal is the only local institutional investor willing to meet his Esh’s requested valuation.
Esh initially targeted a valuation of NIS 2 billion when it launched early last year. However, due to the market downturn, they eventually had to settle for a lower valuation, which so far only Krall has agreed to meet.
Esh received a conditional banking license from the Bank of Israel two weeks ago, making it the second licensed digital bank in Israel after One Zero, founded by Mobileye co-founder Amnon Shashua.
Esh’s CEO is Yuval Aloni and is chaired by former Israel Securities Authority Chairman Shmuel Hauser. His Zuk’s personal investment in this project is estimated at tens of millions of dollars.
Obtaining a conditional license will allow Esh to continue to establish banks prior to bank opening.
“Esh is a banking technology group. Our goal is to accelerate the transition from traditional banking models to innovative models that are mutually beneficial between banks and customers,” said the founder of Esh. Yuval Aloni, CEO and CEO, said in an announcement posted on the company’s website. “We believe the efficiencies from the automation and technical autonomy built into our banking platform will create better solutions.”