OurCrowd, the Jerusalem-based global equity crowdfunding platform, said Thursday it has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Taiwan-based Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank (SCSB) in an effort to expand the venture fund’s Asian reach.
The partnership will open the door for Chinese customers of the bank to invest in OurCrowd’s portfolio companies, enable OurCrowd to access and invest in Chinese technologies, and also help foster commercial and strategic partnerships between Israeli startups and Chinese companies, Jon Medved, OurCrowd’s CEO, said in an interview.
The accord follows an agreement OurCrowd signed with Singapore’s United Overseas Bank Ltd. (UOB), Singapore’s largest bank for small business enterprises, last March.
“We have got a model that works, where we bring in a local partner in an important country, like we did first with UOB in Singapore and now with SCSB in Taiwan,” Medved said. “You build an ecosystem, you get the investors there. And those investors not only invest money with you but they help you create relationships with the companies.”
As part of Thursday’s accord, the SCSB bought a stake in OurCrowd, for “single digit millions of dollars,” Medved said. “We see Taiwan as one of the major technology and innovation centers in the world.”
SCSB, which manages consolidated assets of $48.7 billion and capital of $1.2 billion, is looking to increase innovation by using financial technology to promote internet banking and mobile banking services. The Taiwanese bank provides retail and corporate banking services to thousands of clients and has branches in China, NY, LA, San Francisco and London.
“The objective of the bank’s investment in Israel’s OurCrowd equity crowdfunding platform, aside from wanting to generate investment income, also aims to be able to use its investment to access foreign startup companies and the latest financial technology, network security technology and innovative financial services,” said SCSB board director, executive vice president, and chief information officer John Yung.
Medved said this second accord is another step in the deepening relationship Israeli tech companies are developing with Asia. “Asia is just getting started,” he said, with investments flowing in both directions.
As China shifts its identity from a manufacturing and labor-intensive economy to a high-end innovative force, Asian giants including Alibaba Group, Hutchison Water Ltd., and Huawei have set up R&D centers, invested in funds and snapped up Israeli startups and companies.
Chinese conglomerates like the Kuang-Chi Group have set up funds and are investing in Israeli companies, while Chinese IT corporation Neusoft said it would set up a $250 million fund to invest in Israeli medical technologies.
In the partnership between the countries Israel has the software capabilities while China has the hardware knowhow and the consumer and financial markets, said Yung in an interview. “We’d like to see them working together.”
Thursday’s funding announcement was made at the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem. More than 6,000 guests from 82 countries and representatives from 200 multinational corporations are attending the conference,