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The short on Leonardo DiCaprio’s Israeli tech investments

The short on Leonardo DiCaprio’s Israeli tech investments

The Hollywood star has made quite a few investments over the years, including some in Israel, most recently in cultivated meat startup Aleph Farms

Hagar Ravet | 12:05  23.09.2021
Leonardo DiCaprio has made quite a few investments over the years, including some in Israel. When it comes to the Hollywood star’s investments in the Holy Land, it is unclear how much money he actually invested or whether his name really helps yield profits for companies.

A decade ago, it was revealed that DiCaprio invested in Israeli entrepreneurs Moshe and Oded Hogeg’s social media company Mobli, which shut down in 2016. At its peak, the company had 23 million users, with the app allowing them to share photos and videos, tag by topic and place, and enable theme-based searches. Instagram, which was founded afterward, took over the market, but Mobli continued to hold a large share of users in South America for some time. Mobli raised $86 million before it closed its doors.

Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo: Shutterstock Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo: Shutterstock Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo: Shutterstock

In 2018, a NIS 6 million ($1.87 million) lawsuit was filed at the Tel Aviv District Court by two American businessmen against Hogeg and Kazakh businessman Kenes Rakishev, who served, according to the lawsuit, as the chairman of Mobli’s board. “The defendants made false representations to the plaintiffs, and published misleading publications about the company's financial security regarding huge sums invested or allegedly invested in the company by billionaire Carlos Slim, and famous film actor Leonardo DiCaprio as part of the development of a new application for content sharing named Mobli by Mobli-Israel,” the lawsuit claimed. However, the “the large investments in the company the defendants claimed were made were significantly lower than what was presented and published at best, and at worst were not made at all." In December 2019, the plaintiffs withdrew the lawsuit before the proceedings began.

A year prior, ultra-Orthodox American entrepreneur Shlomo Rechnitz sued Hogeg and the company at a California district court, claiming that DiCaprio only invested $9.5 in the company.

The star made an additional investment in Israel in March 2018, then in the Hagag Group, through its subsidiary Regency Jerusalem, who reported that the Hollywood star had a 10% partnership stake in a new hotel, which was founded by the Herzliya Marina Real Estate Agency, and designed by American architect David Rockwell. According to the report, DiCaprio was to assist in the marketing and branding of the project, and in return would be entitled to around 10% of its profits. In the event that he fulfilled these obligations, DiCaprio would be paid $2.5 million from the profits. Only afterward would another $22.5 million of the profits be paid to the company’s shareholders, with the remaining profit balance being divided among the partners, including DiCaprio, according to their relative share in the company’s profits. Currently, the project is still unprofitable.

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Simultaneously, DiCaprio has also invested in the past in a number of other American technology companies and investment funds, among them Struck Capital, which is based in Los Angeles. The star’s additional investments include the mattress company Capser, the alternative meat company Beyond Meat, diamond company Diamond Foundry, juice company Suja Life, the diagnostic company Cue Health, software company Rubicon Global, and the data science company Qloo.

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