A company investing in Israeli technology has become the biggest equity crowd-funder in the world with a £56 million ($72 million) funding injection, which it will use to open new London offices next year, in what it described as its “Brentry”.
OurCrowd, led by American-born investor Jon Medved, closed its Series C funding round, saying it now had “a significant war-chest” to invest in offices and platforms, and to match investment in innovative start-ups.
An upbeat Medved said the record amount showed that “the world is beating a path to Israel’s door,” as individuals look to put their own money into a range of industries while start-up companies are still private.
“It’s everything from medical devices, cyber, financial technology, autonomous vehicles, drones, robotics, you name it. Israel is on fire right now. It’s time to make some money.”
OurCrowd has 15,000 members in 110 countries, and describes itself as “a start-up that helps other start-ups raise money”. Medved said: “We act as vetter and price-setter, and take on a lot of risk, in part because we put a lot of our own money in.”
On the issue of equity crowd-funding, he said: “Until now, individuals have not been able to play this game. The average guy or gal can read about these tech companies but can’t go into them when they’re private. That’s where we help. We’re looking for the next Uber or Airbnb and get individuals in early. Previously this was the preserve of the tech-savvy and the institutional investors, so we’re disrupting the industry.”
Diaspora Jews, who have for years ploughed money into Israel through philanthropy, were lately getting wise to the opportunities, he added.
“Israel is now the second most important source of innovation in the world, with $6 billion invested this year,” said Medved. “Jews have been sending money, thank God, but now it’s time to make some. The Jewish community is waking up and saying, ‘what are we, chopped liver’?”