OurCrowd is Israel's main crowdfunding platform - raising millions for fledgling start-ups..
(photo credit: OURCROWD)
Israel-based OurCrowd, one of the world’s largest crowdfunding platforms, announced that it has raised $650 million for some 145 start-ups and in 12 funds since its launch in 2013.
Coming a day before its annual conference on Thursday – for which 10,000 attendees are traveling to Jerusalem from more than 90 countries – OurCrowd CEO Jonathan Medved told journalists that investors were making inquiries from unlikely places, including from neighboring countries in the Middle East.
“There is increased interest from Arab investors, but they’re not ready to publicly talk about it,” Medved said. “I think next year, there will be a number of hands raised from the Arab world.... It’s not long before those funds reach here.”
Given geopolitical changes – a convergence of Israeli and Sunni Gulf Arab interests as they oppose Iranian influence – Arab investors have started to probe the Israeli crowdfunding platform, Medved said, adding that in 2018 and 2019, such commercial ties could bloom.
Medved added that the SoftBank Vision fund – a $100 billion fund which has invested in a number of Israeli start-ups – gets much of its capital from sovereign wealth funds in the Arab world.
It’s another sign of booming ties and greater opportunities for the Jewish state, as the dollar amounts for Israeli exits have more than tripled since 2013.
“I’ve been a cheerleader for Start-Up Nation since before the book was written,” Medved said on Wednesday, before hyping the conference.
“It’ll be like Las Vegas meets Jerusalem; there’ll be a lot of show business, a lot of serious investment and a lot of people.”
OurCrowd, an equity platform that allows crowdfunding from accredited investors, said that it is expected to hold more than $1b. in assets under management in 2018.
Also on Wednesday, OurCrowd announced the launch of its Labs/02 seed-stage incubator, meant to invest in up to 100 early-stage start-ups over the next decade.
The fund comes on the heels of a sharp drop in funding deals for early-stage start-ups – with incubator seed deals dropping by 49% in 2017.
Located in Jerusalem, the new fund will be supported by the Israel Innovation Authority, formerly known as the Chief Scientist’s Office in the Economy Ministry. It will focus on technologies such as AI, deep learning and autonomous driving.
Initial investments include the start-up Keepers, a child-safety mobile app that equips parents with tools to help their children cope with social media addiction.
“At Keepers, we are focused on keeping our kids safe online, and the Labs/02 team of professional leaders can help us execute fast in this very timely market,” said Keepers CEO Hanan Lipskin in a statement.
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