Kobi Alexander: The Heart of VC Darkness

I hardly know where to start with this nutty story, so I’ll just let the facts speak for themselves:

An Israeli newspaper reported Thursday that Kobi Alexander, the voicemail technology fugitive wanted in the U.S. on stock option manipulation charges, has escaped to a small fishing village in Sri Lanka.

But wait, there’s more: Alexander, the head of U.S.-based voicemail firm Comverse Technology, ran for it, but not before transferring $57-million to an Israeli bank account. It took a private investigator hired by an unnamed U.S. venture capital firm to track Alexander down. How? Apparently via “an Internet phone call” made by the Sri Lanka-hiding CEO.

I love this story, with its cross-pollinated combination of Heart of Darkness and VCs Gone Wild. Watch as an Israeli private investigator plays Marlowe and sails upriver, ever upriver, deeper into the jungle, all the way to Negombo, Sri Lanka, looking for Kurtz/Alexander who is … trying to avoid a vengeful VC and stock option fraud charges. Okay, it’s admittedly nowhere near as metaphysically deep as Conrad’s version, but you have to concede it’s entertaining.


  1. To me, this is one of the scariest and saddest stories to come out of Israel technology. Kobi was one of, if not – The – most successful Israeli entrepreneurs; Bringing up a company from small idea in middle east, to a multi – Billion global leader. His demise was due to something that also makes no sense… a “stupid” mistake – and it seems many other companies at the time were infected with this behavior… well you could call it – “infectious greed”…
    Speaking with those who were close to Kobi I understand he is the exact opposite from Greedy… And most of his doings were to help others. I suspect he was not prepared to handle such situation, and this caused him to panic….
    A story that really does make me sad.

  2. Michael Robinson says:

    Wrong Conrad novel. I think the one you’re looking for is _Lord Jim_.

  3. It is sad that to build a Public Company now days you have to almost sell your soul to the “devil”, I meant to say to the VC, the Wall Street greedy bankers, and the greedy key employees who never wanted shares until you list your company and them start to pressure you for shares.
    Try filing a 15-2-SC-11 or a IPO, and you are told off the records but most Wall Street Firms “how many shares are we getting on the side to kick start the market”.
    Try recruiting as Ex Asst. Sec of State for your board and you get “how many preferential share options am I getting”.
    The games just goes own, I know I was there. The whole game suck, I found out too late, he probably did too, you have to decide between your dream, your promises to so many, how do you decided, indeed a catch 22 situation.
    The SEC is the most hypocrite organization one must deal with, the truth does not matter the PR and the year-end points are the only things that matter.
    I hope and pray that weather guilty or not he and his family find strength in Heaven to face the sound and the humiliation like we did.
    The Baron of Fulwood

  4. Well worth reading.