India’s Reliance to channel investors to OurCrowd funds

Agreement will allow Indian clients to invest in Israeli firm’s startup portfolio through its crowdfunding platform

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

President Reuven Rivlin, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hug each other after a joint media briefing in New Delhi on November 15, 2016. AFP/MONEY SHARMA)
President Reuven Rivlin, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hug each other after a joint media briefing in New Delhi on November 15, 2016. AFP/MONEY SHARMA)

Jerusalem-based crowdfunding VC, OurCrowd, said Wednesday it has signed a strategic collaboration agreement with India’s Reliance Private Client, in which the Indian wealth management firm will offer its clients the possibility of investing in the Israeli company’s funds and start-up portfolio.

“Indian investors have money and are aggressively looking at Israel but don’t have access to Israeli startup technology because they don’t have the right connections,” said Elias Ghosalkar, Director of Corporate Development at OurCrowd. Ghosalkar is a former investment banker who immigrated to Israel from Mumbai a year ago.

The agreement will create a presence for OurCrowd in India and at a second stage the VC firm hopes it will open doors to enable its portfolio companies to export their products to the Indian market, Ghosalkar said. Additional opportunities with India are also being explored, he said, declining to provide further details.

India is home to the fourth largest population of high net worth investors in the Asia-Pacific region, with total wealth approaching $1 trillion. At present, India has around 2 percent of the world’s millionaires (13.6 million) and 5% of the world’s billionaires (2,024). Between 2015 and 2016, the country witnessed a 12% increase in high net worth investors and this is expected to grow at 150% over the next decade, according to data provided by OurCrowd.

OurCrowd's Elias Ghosalkar (Courtesy)
OurCrowd’s Elias Ghosalkar (Courtesy)

“Historically, the greatest challenge for global investors has been access to high quality global alternate asset class investment opportunities, especially into early and growth stage companies based out of mature startup ecosystems such as Israel and Silicon Valley,” said OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved. “This new deal structure will provide Indian investors access to quality VC deals” via Reliance Private Client, he said.

“In addition to providing viable investment opportunities in these important alternate assets, we will connect the Indian investors to the global startup ecosystem via OurCrowd,” said Amrita Farmahan, Country Business Head at Reliance Private Client, part of the Reliance Group, a private sector financial services company with over 250 million customers.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to make a historic trip to Israel in July this year. President Reuven Rivlin and Modi in November hailed their countries’ increasing security cooperation and called to deepen their economic relationship.

The Indian deal comes on the heels of another similar agreement OurCrowd announced earlier this week with the National Australia Bank, in which the bank will offer its clients the opportunity to invest via OurCrowd’s platform.

OurCrowd has a community of almost 20,000 investors from over 112 countries that have has invested over $440 million into 120 portfolio companies and funds, according to data provided by the company. In November the VC firm opened an office in Singapore to serve Asian investors.

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