Jonathan Medved 370.
(photo credit: courtesy)
Time seems to be moving faster for Israeli businessman Jonathan
It took him 22 years to make aliya from San Diego. From that
time, it took 11 years to found, sell and move on from his first company, MERET
He spent another 11 years building up Israel Seed
Partners, a venture-capital fund he founded, to a $262 million fund. It only took
him four years from the time he cofounded mobile software company Vringo to take
it public and another two years to move onto his current project,
It should come as little surprise, then, that it has taken
OurCrowd only a matter of months to become one of Israel’s most active funds,
closing 12 rounds of capital raising for Israeli start-ups within just three
months of its Web launch and gathering $5.5 million in Series A investments in
The fund is sort of start-up, applying the concept of
crowd-sourcing to investing.
“It’s sort of an amalgam, a cumulative
effect of being start-up, angel investor, public CEO and venture capitalist,”
The company works as a sort of matchmaker between start-ups
and investors. It researches and puts its own money into promising young Israeli
companies, then allows accredited investors (defined in the US as controlling
over $1m. in capital, or in Israel as controlling over NIS 12m. in capital) to
pick and choose from the companies, pouring in minimum investments of
The idea, inspired by crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter
that allow numerous small investors to fund ideas posted by entrepreneurs, is an
innovation of its own.
“If you look around and see which businesses have
not yet been disrupted by the Web, there are very few,” Medved says. “Turns out
that one that hasn’t changed at all is how start-ups get their funding. If you
think about it, it’s really super weird because start-ups are the agents of
One thing the Web is good at, he says, is hooking up
products (in this case start-ups) and customers (investors).
to be plenty of demand from the investor side. In his trips and travels around
the world, Medved says, he constantly encountered people interested in investing
in the “start-up nation” but lacked a medium through which to do it. Without
huge amounts to invest in a venture-capital funds, and not wanting to pick
stocks in already publicly traded companies, the would-be investors made do with
simply giving Medved their business cards and hoping for some good
“I’ve got shoe boxes filled to the gills with these cards,”
Then, just last year, it came together.
select the deals, do due diligence, put my own money and my own management’s
money in it and then go to the shoe box of all these people I’ve met in my
career and say, ‘Join me!’” Investors have to make their own decisions on which
companies to fund and take their own risks.
“The reality is a lot of
these are going to go south because we’re talking about start-ups, so you have
to have a portfolio, and we’re pushing that,” he says. “But I’m personally
putting my own money in each of the deals that we have here. We’re putting our
money where our mouth is.”
The fund does have a handful of competitors,
such as FundersClub and AngelList in Silicon Valley, but OurCrowd is specific to
Israel and is giving them a run for their money.
Looking to the future,
as the company continues to aggregate investors, Medved hopes to use the
platform as a social network of sorts, in which the investors can serve as a
resource to help the start-ups expand.
“Not only are we raising money for
a cool set of companies in a new way,” he says, “but by building this community
and unlocking the power of crowds, we can give them an advantage in the
Given Medved’s record, it shouldn’t take long.
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