Jon Medved, the founder and CEO of OurCrowd – which calls itself “Israel’s most active venture investor” – expects more than 15,000 people to attend the 2019 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem today. Thousands more are expected to participate through livestreaming, promising to make it the largest business event in Israel’s history.
Reflecting its theme of “Startups: Making a Global Impact,” the summit’s agenda highlights “the incredible power of breakthrough technologies to make a real and lasting difference in the world.”
Says Medved: “This year’s summit celebrates how in today’s globalized climate, startups are able to amplify their know-how to tackle the critical, complex challenges facing society.”
The summit provides an interactive, front-row seat to the formerly closed world of startup venture capital, with exclusive exposure to cutting-edge technologies, the entrepreneurs behind them and the corporate leaders deploying them. Top investors, venture capitalists, corporate partners, entrepreneurs and journalists have come from around the world, both for the summit and a week of events that includes tours of the Israeli business ecosystem and corporate meetups.
Main-stage content includes eye-opening sessions on how startup technologies are tackling today’s universal challenges – such as AI drone software assisting first responders to locate flood victims; focused ultrasound enabling Parkinson’s patients to walk; submarine-based HVAC systems improving air quality and reducing pollution; and innovative AgTech to increase crop yield and conserve water.
Throughout the summit, attendees are invited to engage in discussions and breakout sessions on the risks and opportunities presented by the innovation revolution.
From virtual reality and medical diagnostic devices to consumer products, it’s a chance to experience the future, including a SportsTech Arena, MedCheck Lab, Cannabis Greenhouse, Korea and India Pavilions, Australia Tech Space, Italian Plaza, an Impact Alley (nonprofits and NGOs), and a full-scale model of the SkyTran rapid transport system (an American startup that works with Israel Aerospace Industries).
In keeping with OurCrowd’s model of democratizing venture capital, the summit will also host an “Open Mic for Entrepreneurs,” providing a stage for startup hopefuls to win over an audience, and a chance for investors to get a first look at potential opportunities.
Guests will also be treated to plant-based burgers and hot dogs presented by the breakthrough startup Beyond Meat. All leftover food from the summit will be given to those in need, facilitated by summit partner, Leket Israel.
Founded in 2013 by Medved – a charismatic American immigrant who calls himself “a serial entrepreneur” – the Jerusalem-based OurCrowd has raised more than $900 million and invested in some 170 portfolio companies and funds. The OurCrowd community comprises almost 30,000 accredited investors from 150 countries.
As a global investment platform and leader in equity crowdfunding, OurCrowd projects an overwhelmingly positive image of Israel. As Medved says, “Our event is the premier showcase of Israeli technology – and a golden opportunity for investors looking to meet the very best that the Startup Nation has to offer the world.”
There is a lot to be proud of and plenty to highlight. For this exact reason, action is needed now by the state to retain this status and ensure that Israel does not lose its entrepreneurial flavor.
The 2018 Israeli Innovation Industry Human Capital Report, released in December, showed that Israel’s tech sector is growing faster than the local supply of talent, leading to some 15% of positions currently unfilled. The study showed that the largest numbers of open positions are in software and product infrastructure roles (31%), with shortages also of potential employees with the relevant expertise in data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
OurCrowd’s summit is a moment to enjoy what Israel has achieved. Work is needed to make sure it does not get lost.