Also on the investment committee is Ofir Paz, who recently sold his Peach Networks Ltd company to Microsoft for 0m, and Sir Andrew Burns, the former British ambassador to Israel.
“Israel is the number-two country, behind the US, for intellectual properties trading on Nasdaq,” says Mr Carmel.
“It is exporting a tremendous amount of technology and successful companies.
Mr Carmel, no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the company, remains the largest private shareholder. He recently joined MGIC, an investment vehicle established by Israeli businessmen Amir Raveh and Robert Pincas of Anglo-Israeli investment house MG Equity.
He stepped down from the role of chairman in 2005 to pursue more entrepreneurial and philanthropic interests. The aim is to raise £1.5m from British investors to plough into between 10 and 12 Israeli online start-ups over the next year — nurturing and then selling them.
Mr Carmel, down and out after losing a fortune in Californian real estate, had little to lose.
They struggled to find a domain name because many of the obvious ones had been taken. A little over a decade later, and JDate — now part of Sparks Networks, which also includes dating sites Jewishmingle.com, and — has a market capital of more than 0m.
Alon Carmel, the founder and former chairman of JDate — the world’s largest online Jewish dating site — says the days of social-networking-cum-dating sites could soon be numbered.
Mr Carmel believes such sites are putting themselves at risk by trying to do too much. I don’t think highly of Facebook or My Space, and I think there will be a decline in the growth and prestige of such social-networking sites.” He adds: “They started with a good strategy, finding their own niche and specialising in that.