Dr. Gideon, Tolkowsky began his career in venture capital in 1982 with the New York-based firm of Adler & Company, in 1984, after completing his MBA degree at the Wharton School, he returned to Israel and, together with Dan Tolkowsky and Frederick R. Adler he co-founded the Country's first venture fund Athena venture Partners, in 1990, together with his partner Mr. Yadin Kaufmann, Gideon founded Israel's second venture firm Veritas Venture Partners. Veritas then raised the venture capital fund of Anglo American Veritas "AAV". AAV's novelty in an Israeli context was that it was the first corporate fund focused on venture investments in Israel. Most of AAV's capital was invested by Anglo American Corporation (A large, multinational mining conglomerate) and by its then affiliate De Beers. By itself, the founding of AAV was a most noteworthy achievement of Dr. Tolkowsky and his partner. The business culture and business model of Anglo American Corporation and De Beers, were as remote from the high-tech start-up culture as could be. of Dr. Tolkowsky and Mr. Kaufmann, Together succeeded in attracting a large mining conglomerate whose business culture was as different as could be from that of early-stage technology start-up, Gideon actively navigated the Veritas/ Anglo American relationship and, together with his Veritas partners brought it to its outstanding IRR in the framework of the AAV fund. Throughout its 16 years life AAV achieved an IRR of 84%. Dr. Tolkowsky led AAV's seed investment in two most successful portfolio companies:
ESC Medical Ltd.
Dr. Gideon Tolkowsky was approached by an entrepreneur, working for an Israeli defence R&D lab who had developed a non-invasive and non-damaging technology for removing paint off aircraft structures for maintenance . The technology involved application to the painted structure of pulsating non-coherent white light (As opposed to coherent laser light ), the light would heat the structure moderately (as it was pulsating and non-coherent) and the paint would peel off. The said entrepreneur reported to Gideon of his desire to start a new company that would apply the same technology to civil use, preferably to medical use. Gideon actively assisted the entrepreneur to explore relevant civil applications with high market potential. Together they zeroed in on the market for varicose vein removal (Where the pulsating light would cause the vein walls to collapse inward, and the blood inside them to turn into powder and disperse in the blood system). Gideon then introduced the physicist entrepreneur to an American entrepreneur with much experience and strong record in marketing and selling medical devices in the US, subsequently the two entrepreneurs with Gideon's active support started a company to pursue the said application (Which turned out to also include the removal of port wine stains and tattoos). Then, ESC medical Ltd. Was set up in Israel, and started growing nicely. Gideon became Active Chairman of its board, and within three years from incorporation, the company went public on NASDAQ (with Gideon playing an instrumental role in the process) and some two years later (about five years from incorporation), the Company reached market capitalization of just under a billion dollars with Gideon still its Chairman, a position which he voluntarily handed over to the original entrepreneur, shortly after the Company floated a secondary offering. After making several acquisitions, the Company's name was changed to Lumenis.
In 1997, Dr. Gideon Tolkowsky, identified a 5-member team of ex-Israel-Navy R&D individuals working in a small Tel-Aviv apartment. They had incorporated a company called M-Systems. At that time Flash memory semiconductor technology reached global markets. The computer industry, saw in it much potential for memory devices. The M-Systems team developed technical expertise in flash memory technology. When Gideon met them, they were making their living off turnkey projects for the defence industry in the US and Israel. Gideon urged them to divert their expertise to commercial markets, by way of developing and marketing off-the-shelf mass products. The M-Systems entrepreneurs aligned with Gideon's recommendation and several years later went public on NASDAQ. The Company's better known product was the "Disk –On-Key" also known as the "USB Memory stick, Which is prevalent today in practically every digital system. It was M-Systems that conceived this product and brought it to market. In 2006 M-Systems was acquired by San-Disk for 1.55 billion dollars.