The widespread influence of Israeli crowd equity platform OurCrowd
OurCrowd is a leading, crowd equity platform based in Jerusalem with branches in the U.S., Canada, Singapore and Australia. The firm just wrapped up its biggest investor conference, which involved an exhibition of the latest robotics, drones, medtech, AI, and mobility tech. Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd, made headlines with his announcement that OurCrowd raised $650 million, anticipating that they will soon break the $1 billion ceiling this year.
In collaboration with Yissum Labs, Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s tech transfer office, OurCrowd’s also rolling out a seed stage incubator. All in all, despite only launching five years ago, the crowdfunder has positioned itself perfectly to become another Yissum of sorts.
OurCrowd is credited for much of the $5 billion startups and businesses raised in investments in 2017, a record performance for the Israeli tech space. Medved listed off lots of significant deals that OurCrowd helped negotiate, including Argus Cyber Security having been acquisitioned by Continental AG, the German auto company for around $430 million. The crowdfunding platform claims credit for linking New Zealand utility company, Vector Limited, with Israel-based mPrest, a critical systems software company perhaps best known for aiding in the development of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system in Israel.
OurCrowd also takes credit for establishing the connection between Zebra Medical Vision, an Israel-based medical imaging startup, with Nvidia, the American computing technologies firm. “Everyone now understands how massive innovation is. We’re just catching a wave,” Medved commented on the subject to NoCamels. There were some 10,000 registered attendees at the annual summit, combining both in-person and online viewing numbers, which spanned more than 90 countries. Attendees represented 500 multinational firms, 1,000 startups and 500 venture capitalists. It’s the biggest investor event in the Middle East the world’s most significant equity crowdfunding event.
Medved said, “It’s gratifying to see so much interest in Israel’s booming tech scene. The variety of venture capitalists, multinationals, startup CEOs, and investors that came together in Israel to be in one place, creating real business deals, is astounding.” Another highlight at the event was the revolutionary Hackathon that used three exemplary technologies provided by Hebrew University engineers to “crowdcreate” a company. OurCrowd used this Hackathon to launch Labs/02, which is the new startup incubator in Jerusalem with Yissum’s partnership.
Telecommunications equipment producer Motorola Solutions has thrown in its support for Labs/02, and the incubator is expected to invest in as many as 100 companies in a decade’s time, concentrating its funds on artificial intelligence, autonomous transportation, deep learning and smart urban infrastructure. Moshe Raines, general partner of OurCrowd, is set to lead the incubator. Reliance Industries, a diversified conglomerate based in Mumbai, is also playing a supporting role much like Motorola Solutions, and its role is expected to serve as a part of the program run by the Minstry of Economy’s Israel Innovation Authority.
OurCrowd has chosen two other platforms as its first likely investments, and these are C2A Security and Keepers. The former is a chip-level security platform for automobiles, and the latter develops a platform for inspecting messages on a child’s device and flagging unwholesome content to for parents’ sake. Additionally, OurCrowd and LeAD Sports, a sports technology accelerator, co-founded a $50 million fund called Advantage, which is projected to make some 15 investments in seed-stage sports tech startups. OurCrowd business development associate, Jeremy Pressman, has been announced as co-manager with LeAD managing director Christoph Sonnen.
Medved said, “Just when recent data shows a 49 percent decline in early stage seed investments in Israel for 2017, OurCrowd is proud to be pouring more resources and investment into the critical seed investing arena. My personal roots were always in seed investment, and Moshe and his Labs/02 team are just what the market needs to revitalize the seed scene in Israel.”
Medved conceded that OurCrowd uses the annual summit to dictate market trends in the proceeding fiscal year. These are trends throughout the Israeli investment space, especially equity crowdfunding. The summit was called the Innovation Revolution, and it provided lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to rub shoulders, but the overall takeaway is positive, especially in light of the deals OurCrowd has made possible as of late. Attendees got to look at case studies from Israel’s startups and anecdotal presentations on startup tech.
OurCrowd’s work and contributions are ultimately a consistent boon for the Israel tech market. Lots of corporations and startups alike in Israel benefit from the deals that Medved negotiates and facilitates in addition to the countless millions OurCrowd invests. The annual Global Investor Summit in and of itself is a testament to that effect, and Labs/02 is added evidence that OurCrowd willfully assumes the responsibility to step into a much needed support role for the industry as a whole. Countries across all regions endeavor to deal with the Israeli tech sector each year, and the functions that OurCrowd has been serving as of late only make that easier.