Thousands of people attended the 2018 OurCrowd summit in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
OurCrowd announced on Tuesday the theme and preliminary program for its 2019 Global Investor Summit, which will take place on March 7: “Startups: Making a Global Impact.”
More than 15,0000 people – including startup entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, multinational corporations, investors and government officials – are expected to attend the global investment platform’s fifth annual summit in Jerusalem. The event is the country’s largest investor event and among the world’s biggest equity crowdfunding conferences.
The theme centers on the power of breakthrough technologies to make a lasting social impact in the world, and the idea that one can make investments in companies with the intention of generating a positive, measurable social or environmental effect alongside a financial return.
The conference will feature a medtech company using scanning technology to reverse spinal injuries, for example; drone technology that can help in search-and-rescue missions; as well as IoT sensors being deployed in agtech to conserve water and increase crop yields.
“There is a huge amount of interest in impact investing, especially among Millennials and younger wealth,” OurCrowd CEO Jonathan Medved told The Jerusalem Post. “The broader market is also interested in investing in companies that are not just proposing to make money, but to solve global challenges.”
Medved said many investors and entrepreneurs assume that to “have impact they will have to throttle down the profit motive and make sacrifices do good.” In other words, that financial returns will be lower.
“We believe you can do good and well at the same time,” Medved said. “What we are proposing is that you do not need to sacrifice your desire for profit and commercial success to have an impact.”
According to the Global Impact Investing Network, assets under management defined as impact now tally $114 billion.
Attendees at the summit will hear how investing in private markets may avoid the trade-off of environment and societal goals.
At last year’s summit, Sgt. John Michael O’Hare, a detective at the Hartford, Connecticut police department, spoke about using Briefcam technology to catch a child predator. Briefcam, which provides a solution for rapid video review and search, real-time alerting and quantitative video insights, was subsequently acquired by Canon for $90 million.
This year, the summit will include a presentation by Amit Gofer, a quadriplegic who founded UPnRIDE, a wheeled robotic device that provides upright and seated mobility for wheelchair users. Gofer is the founder of ReWalk, an exited OurCrowd company whose robotic exoskeleton enables paraplegics to walk.
Edgybees, which uses augmented reality overlays for drone and CCTV cameras to map streets and power lines and thus protect and direct first-responders, will also present. This technology was used successfully during California forest fires and in Florida, during hurricane Irma.
OurCrowd Summit will also feature another kind of impact: the power of entrepreneurship to promote peace through the creation of jobs and the alignment of interests.
According to Medved, players from the Middle East and around the world – Brazil, Kenya, Japan, Thailand, India, Europe, the US and others – will explore the challenges and opportunities represented by the innovation revolution.
Though Medved said he could not provide details, he explained that top-level officials from the Middle East would attend the conference and describe how entrepreneurship is saving lives and promoting peace among former enemy states.
“If you really want to bring peace, let’s invest,” Medved said. “Let’s create jobs for Jews and Arabs. Let’s work together on water and agriculture and health.”
Each year, the summit includes hands-on demos and interactive spaces where visitors can see and touch the latest innovations.
The 2019 event will also tackle ethical questions of technology, such as a Chinese doctor’s recent use of CRISPR technology to make gene-edited twins.
Conversations will include blockchain, a list of records which are linked using crytography, and examine whether it is just another clever innovation that enables people to do the same thing – only better – or if it will be a disruptive wave like the internet, remaking industries and society alike. Two teams of top global blockchain experts will present their polar-opposing views.
“To what degree should we welcome the robotic future and how can we make sure humans benefit and are not displaced?” Medved asked. “OurCrowd Summit is one of the few places where the public is being invited to discuss [this].”
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