Two Yeshiva University alumni are taking a novel approach to teaching the fundamentals of venture capital. Bruce Taragin ’89YC and Moshe Bellows ’90YC, ’08W, both experienced venture capitalists, have founded Maccabee Ventures, LLC, a $10 million early-stage technology fund that is associated with, but separate from, Yeshiva University.
Taragin, Managing Director of Blumberg Capital, and Bellows, a prominent Midwest angel investor, are serving as Maccabee Ventures’ Managing Members. Together, they also co-teach two popular courses in the Sy Syms School of Business Honors Program: Angel and Venture Capital Investing and Fund Formation, Administration and Management. This experience led to the birth of Maccabee Ventures.
Through an exciting collaboration, eligible students from Sy Syms matriculating in Taragin and Bellows’ classes will act as student venture associates to the fund. In this hands-on experiential setting, students will learn and execute the highly transferable skills necessary to assess investment opportunities that power the growth of high-impact startups.
“We are excited to collaborate with Maccabee Ventures as a key partner in the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem surrounding Yeshiva University,” said Dr. Maria Blekher, Director of the YU Innovation Lab. “Having the right partners is a key component for a viable and impactful ecosystem, and Moshe and Bruce are two seasoned investors with excellent track records as well as avid educators.”
“The launch of Maccabee Ventures represents an important jumping-off point for a new era of strategy and entrepreneurship at YU,” said Dr. Sharon Poczter, chair of the Strategy & Entrepreneurship Department at Sy Syms. “Along with the accompanying courses in venture capital and fund formation, this new portfolio of both academic and experiential work for students will create an unparalleled opportunity, enabling them to thrive in the VC and entrepreneurship world.”
Maccabee Ventures will focus on vertical markets in which its Managing Members have decades of successful investment experience, including but not limited to SaaS [software as a service], B2B [business-to-business], Fintech [financial technology], cybersecurity, PropTech [property technology], digital health, and SilverTech™.
Taragin explained why he decided to co-found Maccabee Ventures. “As alumni, we feel a deep responsibility to give back while also creating a dynamic, real-world learning environment for our students. We believe Maccabee Ventures provides more than just capital to our portfolio companies. A Maccabee Ventures investment leverages the deep and diverse intellectual assets of YU’s undergraduate and graduate programs and its vibrant global alumni ecosystem to support and accelerate Maccabee Ventures-related companies.”
With more than 70,000 alumni, many of whom live in Israel, YU’s alumni ecosystem represents a diverse range of vocations and subject matter experts at the highest level of every industry. Maccabee Ventures represents a triple bottom line by offering attractive, top-quartile financial returns, providing students with real-world experience and opportunities, and engaging alumni as investors, experts and advisers to foster a deeper and more meaningful connection to the University.
“Bruce and Moshe are model alumni of Yeshiva University, returning to campus to develop our next generation of entrepreneurial leaders while helping strengthen our culture of entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Noam Wasserman, dean of Sy Syms and author of The Founder’s Dilemmas. “Maccabee Ventures allows Yeshiva University to join elite and select universities in the country with a complementary investment fund. The addition of Maccabee Ventures within the orbit of our entrepreneurship courses, clubs and other startup activities gives YU a full range of opportunities for students to get real-life experiences while on campus, which will help them develop their career goals and distinguish them when they hit the job market or when they decide to found their own ventures. The relationship with Maccabee Ventures also creates an opportunity for YU alumni and allies to help current students participate in and create the companies of tomorrow.”