Israel Resilience Fund started first investments

Photo above (left to right): Jeff Kupietzky, Jon Medved, Noam Kaiser and Liat Sverdlov

The digital investment platform,  OurCrowd, announced the first close of its $50 million Israel Resilience Fund, with more than $13 million in capital commitments, and approved the first 8 investments from the fund. OurCrowd will waive all management fees and carried interest as a contribution to Israel’s current wartime emergency.  The fund, which was first announced just 40 days ago, becomes one of the fastest-closing venture funds ever to go from conception to closure and to make actual investments.

Jon Medved, OurCrowd Founder and CEO, said, “Many venture-backed companies in Israel are already struggling due to the global venture slowdown and now face even more serious obstacles due to the war in Gaza. The Israel Resilience Fund will seek to create outsized returns for investors by taking advantage of discounted valuations in the current market, while supporting Israeli companies to survive the crisis and flourish in the long run.”

The Israel Resilience Fund aims to focus on 50+ startups directly affected by the crisis. It is managed by Jeff Kupietzky, a seasoned operator with over 15 years’ experience as a high-tech CEO in the US and Israel. Kupietzky recently sold his company Jeeng to OpenWeb for $100 million. Kupietzky is accompanied by expert investment partners including Noam Kaiser, a former Partner at Intel Capital, and investor at Gemini Israel Ventures and Offer Hi Tech; and Liat Sverdlov, a Partner with the OurCrowd Investments Team.

Eight startup companies were selected to receive investments this month. Recipients include: 

  • BlueTree, which has developed proprietary technology to reduce sugar in natural beverages. The company was recently evacuated from its facility in Kiryat Shmona near the Lebanon border;
  • Carrarexperts in EV battery thermal management systems. The company was forced to relocate from its headquarters in Sderot near Gaza;
  • Edgybeesutilizing satellite and motion imagery to deliver actionable insights currently in use to save lives;
  • Veroboticsutilizing an autonomous robot for building exterior upkeep and proactive maintenance, whose key staff are serving in the reserves.

OurCrowd is a global investing platform that empowers institutions and individuals to invest in emerging technology companies at an early stage. Acclaimed by PitchBook as the most active venture investor in Israel every year since 2013, OurCrowd vets and selects companies across all sectors and stages, invests its own capital, and provides its global platform of over 225,000 registered members from 195 countries with unparalleled access and freedom to co-invest from as little as $10,000 in the companies of their choice.

Jon Medved: “After the War, We’ll See a Sharp Rise in Investments”

In a conversation with Jon Medved, the driving force behind the OurCrowd capital raising and investment platform, it’s clear that he is deeply involved in the war effort. “This generation is unlike any other in terms of courage and dedication. Our children are on the front lines, and our role is to safeguard the economy.” Born in the United States, Medved communicates the Israeli story to leading global media outlets and maintains daily and close contact with venture capital firms and international partners to show them how the Israeli industry continues to operate and expand even during wartime.

In an interview with Techtime, he explains that the response in the financial world is very positive and discusses his anticipation of renewed growth in the Israeli tech industry after “the victory and the end of the war.” Medved noted, “War is always a bad sign for investments. When the cannons roar, investors do not sign checks. But if you look at the Israeli economy over the past 25 years, you’ll see that after every war, there is an increase in investment volume. Wars do not deter the overall growth of Israel’s gross domestic product. This is also evident in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange data: sharp declines when the war breaks out, followed by a significant upswing when it ends.”

Private Investors in the Masses

Jon Medved founded the OurCrowd platform in 2013, and it has become one of the prominent investment platforms in the tech sector. Today, it includes over 225,000 registered investors who have invested in approximately 425 companies, with a total investment volume of around $2.2 billion. This platform is considered the most active tech investor in Israel, with 63 successful exits to its name. It has led to investments in numerous electronics companies, such as NeuReality, Hailo, Celeno (which was sold to Renesas), Core Photonics (sold to Samsung), Argus (sold to Continental), and more.

“We built a platform that allows individual investors to select companies for investment after passing a comprehensive review by us and being selected by our investment committee. We also raise capital and investments from our partners (50 international firms like SoftBank, Stifel and Orix). For these investments, we invite the masses – currently, there are around quarter of a million investors from 195 countries.” OurCrowd employs about 200 people, with 150 in Israel and the rest in 15 offices worldwide. The platform expanded its activity beyond the Israeli market to global territories, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and more.

How is the industry responding to the war?

“Everyone is fighting on multiple fronts simultaneously. It starts with employees being called up to the reserves, and companies are dealing with a shortage of human resources. According to our estimates, 10%-20% of the workforce has been called up to the reserves. Those remaining in civilian life work harder and perform many more tasks. Companies need to retain their customers and convince them that they can continue to operate and even develop under wartime constraints. The second front is the investment front, where some companies manage to secure investments and even raise capital. Now, government assistance is coming as well: the Israeli Innovation Authority announced a fund of 400 million shekels, and I believe that this amount will increase significantly.

“We are also engaged in the war effort. We have invested in mPrest, the company that developed the Iron Dome control and command system, in Cyabra, which is making strides in the fight against fake news, and in a company that provides cyber protection for Israel’s electric and water systems. We have companies like UAV developers, an incubator in Kiryat Shmona, and companies operating from Sderot, just one kilometer away from the Gaza border. So, as a company, we are involved in the war effort from all directions.”

The U.S. Government’s Mobilization Sends a Message to the Markets

“We are preparing for a protracted war. The army is preparing the people for a war that will last months, not weeks, and we need to provide our companies with the tools to deal with such a situation. To continue raising capital and benefit from the sense of partnership within the nation. Fortunately, investors respond to our calls and provide support, which I hope will not only continue but also increase. While institutional investors hesitate, there is a massive awakening of entities friendly to Israel. The U.S. government’s mobilization sends a significant message to the markets.

“We have never seen such donation efforts as we are seeing now. A lot of money is coming to Israel from overseas donors. We estimate that significant funding will be directed to academia and hospitals. The tech sector needs to ensure that this awakening reaches it as well. We need to continue channeling funding to companies that are the heart of the tech sector. This heart primarily thrives on foreign capital: 80% of the capital invested in Israeli tech comes from abroad. I believe this will continue. Investors are reaching out to us and asking how they can help.”

Israel’s OurCrowd to partner with Philippines Investment Firm Einhorn Resources Inc

[photo: OurCrowd General Partner & Managing Director of Australia and Asia Dan Bennett and Einhorn Resources Inc CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier sign the partnership in Tel Aviv, Israel]

OurCrowd, Israel’s most active venture platform, and Einhorn Resources Inc, an investment firm in the Philippines, today announced a partnership that will provide Einhorn clients with direct access to exclusive OurCrowd startup investments, as well as mentorships to facilitate growth for Philippine startup companies.

The partnership was signed in Tel Aviv, Israel, between Dan Bennett, OurCrowd’s General Partner & Managing Director of Australia and Asia, and Jean Henri Lhuillier, Einhorn Resources Inc CEO.

“This new partnership is an exciting opportunity to extend our pipeline into the vibrant investment community in the Philippines and to help nurture the startup ecosystem there,” said Dan Bennett. “Einhorn Resources’ deep knowledge of the Philippine investment landscape will be instrumental to bringing our top-tier technology talent to that part of the world.

“Not only are we raising money for these opportunities both in Israel, the US and beyond, but this is an important opportunity for corporates and family offices to invest from the Philippines and to attract technology that will benefit their core business.”

“We are excited to work alongside OurCrowd to pave the way for stronger ties for investment opportunities, traditional companies and tech solution collaborations,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier. “The partnership aims to open the funnel to a Philippine network of investors who can choose relevant companies to invest in as well as customize an online portfolio.”

This first collaboration of its kind in the Philippines provides direct access for Einhorn clients to one of the world’s leading online venture platforms, which has $1.9 billion in commitments, and deployed capital into more than 347 portfolio companies and 39 funds across five continents.

OurCrowd has over 200,000 registered members from 195 countries and enables accredited
individual investors to participate in vetted early-stage firms and funds. As of 2021, OurCrowd has received over $1.9 billion in commitments, and deployed capital across five continents.

Einhorn Resources Inc oversees multiple investments in agriculture, fintech, education, healthcare, real estate, and software, directly or through funds, with investments in Europe, the US, Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Philippines.

Einhorn Resources is in the planning stages with the OurCrowd incubation team to explore setting up a regional incubator that would give growth opportunities to Philippine startups seeking Israeli tech expertise.

OurCrowd to Partner with the Singapore Economic Development Board

OurCrowd, Israel’s most active venture firm, today announced its partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), under its Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) programme. The GIA is a platform that serves to catalyse cross-border collaboration between Singapore and major innovation hubs globally.

Israel joins the ranks of other notable tech hubs in the programme including Silicon Valley, China, and Europe. As the first Israeli company to run the programme, OurCrowd’s collaboration with EDB will provide thousands of Israeli startups the opportunity to work with Singapore-based corporates across the manufacturing and services sectors including healthcare, precision engineering and chemicals.

This collaboration includes a series of in-person meetings and virtual programmes including curated networking sessions and bespoke demo days. The first such programme involving in-person meetings will be held in Israel this July, where invited Singapore-based corporates will meet with Israeli entrepreneurs to discuss collaboration opportunities in technology and innovation.

Yakir Machluf [pictured above], OurCrowd’s newly appointed Head of Business Development said, “The partnership with EDB is the direct evolution of OurCrowd’s long standing relationships in Singapore and the entire region. Following the opening of the OurCrowd office in Singapore in 2016, as well as past collaborations with United Overseas Bank (UOB), Changi Airport, and Kepple, we will continue to strengthen the strategic partnerships driving corporate innovation between Singapore, the Israeli ecosystem and beyond.”

Ms Lily Phua, Vice President, Innovation Economy, EDB said, “With the reopening of global travel borders, our companies can now resume travel to meet with international partners to discuss growth opportunities and strengthen innovation collaborations. EDB is pleased to partner with OurCrowd to organise this series of programmes in Israel, which seek to enhance our companies’ capacity to create new products and businesses out of Singapore. Companies will be able to leverage OurCrowd’s extensive networks and deep understanding of technology capabilities in the Israeli startup ecosystem, which will further strengthen innovation ties between the two countries.”

Softbank Vision Fund 2 takes stake in OurCrowd

OurCrowd, Israel’s most active venture platform [1], today announced that SoftBank Vision Fund 2, will make a $25 million convertible equity investment into the firm. Proceeds of the round will go toward the expansion of the OurCrowd platform, building its investor base and accelerating the identification of high-potential, tech-enabled private companies.

With 140,000 accredited investors from more than 195 countries, OurCrowd is a leading platform providing investors with access to quality venture capital investment opportunities. Rated Israel’s most active venture investor by PitchBook, OurCrowd has invested in over 280 companies and 30 funds.

OurCrowd has achieved record growth in the past year. New registered subscribers added to the OurCrowd platform have soared from 25,000 in 2020 to 75,000 in 2021 so far, representing 300% growth with three months remaining before the end of the year. New investments made this year on the platform will exceed $500 million, representing more than 100% growth in additional annual AUM. More than 50 OurCrowd portfolio companies have achieved exits including Lemonade, Beyond Meat, Uber (Jump), Kenna, Argus, Wave, and many more.

Under the agreement, OurCrowd will also enter into a strategic partnership with SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA – Sub-Adviser to SoftBank Vision Fund 2), to consider investment opportunities via OurCrowd’s online venture capital investment platform. The parties will also work with each other to evaluate market trends in a broad variety of sectors including Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Mobility, Agtech, Cybersecurity, Healthtech and more. The collaboration will also see OurCrowd and SBIA support geographic expansion across their respective ecosystems.

OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved said: “We are excited to be working with SoftBank Investment Advisers, one of the world’s largest technology-focused investors. As a strategic investor with a global reach and a network of market-leading technology companies, they will be a pivotal partner in helping OurCrowd realize our vision of democratizing access to venture capital.”

Yossi Cohen, head of SBIA’s operations in Israel, said: “Softbank has been investing ahead of major technology trends for over 40 years and we believe there is huge, embedded potential in the private markets ecosystem. In OurCrowd, we have an investment partner with the networks and pedigree to help promising Israeli startups to potentially emerge as international tech champions.”

Japan’s ORIX to invest $60 Million in Israeli VC OurCrowd

OurCrowd announced last week that ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) invests a strategic $60 million in OurCrowd, Israel’s most active venture investing platform. This is ORIX’s first collaboration with Israel’s startup sector, with OurCrowd planning to provide the diversified financial services giant access to a wide variety of innovative technologies and companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, ORIX and OurCrowd will collaborate in agreed focus areas and will establish financial products and investment opportunities suited for the Japanese and global markets. This will include curated access to both venture capital funds and individual portfolio companies on a deal-by-deal basis. 

CEO of ORIX UK, Kiyoshi Habiro said, “We are excited about investing in OurCrowd, Israel’s most active venture investor and one of the world’s most innovative venture capital platforms. We intend to be active partners with OurCrowd and help them accelerate their already impressive growth, while bringing the best of Israeli tech to Japan’s large industrial and financial sectors.”

Over the past several years, Japan-Israel trade has increased significantly with Japan becoming one of the largest investors in Israeli tech and with over 90 Japanese companies now active in Israel. ORIX and OurCrowd will work to further increase cooperation between the two countries and enhance opportunities for Israeli startups throughout Asia.

OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved said, “ORIX is a global leader in diversified business and financial services who will strengthen OurCrowd in many ways. We are enthusiastic about the potential to further transform the venture capital asset class together and provide a strong bridge for our innovative companies to the important Asian markets.”

Established in 1964 from its start in the leasing business, ORIX has advanced into neighboring fields and is presently undertaking a wide range of businesses such as corporate finance, industrial/ICT equipment, environment and energy, automobile-related, real estate-related, private equity investment and concession, banking and life insurance businesses. Since entering Hong Kong in 1971, ORIX has been operating its businesses globally by establishing locations in 37 countries and regions across the world.

The OurCrowd community consists of almost 60,000 registered investors from over 183 countries.  Rated “the most active venture investor in Israel” by Pitchbook, OurCrowd has more than $1.5 billion in commitments and has made investments in more than 220 companies and 22 funds. OurCrowd already has had many exits, including the IPOs of Beyond Meat and Lemonade, the acquisition of JUMP Bike by Uber, the acquisition of Briefcam by Canon, the acquisition of Argus by Continental, the acquisition of Crosswise by Oracle, the acquisition of Replay by Intel, and many more.

Nomura International plc acted as Adviser to OurCrowd in connection with the transaction.