OurCrowd sets up $50 million fund to invest in sports tech

OurCrowd sets up $50 million fund to invest in sports tech

Jerusalem-based equity crowdfunding VC also launches seed-stage incubator for firms developing tech for AI, deep learning, autonomous cars and and smart cities

OurCrowd's Jon Medved speaks at the OurCrowd Global Summit, February 16, 2017 (Yosef Adest)
OurCrowd's Jon Medved speaks at the OurCrowd Global Summit, February 16, 2017 (Yosef Adest)

OurCrowd, a Jerusalem-based equity crowdfunding platform said Thursday it has launched a $50 million venture fund, Advantage, which focus solely on sports technology.

The fund will be backed by the Adi Dassler International Family Office. Adi Dassler was the founder of German multinational sportswear manufacturer Adidas. OurCrowd and the German sports accelerator leAD, set up by the Dassler family, set up a joint accelerator last year to identify sports-related startups.

The new Advantage fund will focus on 15 early-stage sports tech ventures that provide fan engagement and experience; solutions for connected athletes and communities; and startups in the derivative sports space, including eSports, new and fantasy sports, OurCrowd said.

At a press conference on Wednesday, ahead of the venture capital fund’s 2018 Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem on Thursday, OurCrowd said it expects to surpass over $1 billion in assets under management in 2018.

“Worldwide we are in a boom market and the amount of money invested in the Israeli ecosystem has increased from $2 billion in 2013 to more than $5 billion. Most of this excitement and growth is being driven by foreign investors,” said Jonathan Medved, CEO and founder of OurCrowd, at the press conference.

OurCrowd also said it has set up a new seed-stage incubator called Labs/02, with support from the Israel Innovation Authority, to foster early-stage companies developing technologies in AI, deep learning, autonomous transportation and smart cities. Under the partnership, the Israeli government has agreed to provide up to 85 percent of the first $750,000 for these companies, Medved said.

Earlier this month OurCrowd said it was setting up a new $100 million fund with focus on AI technologies.

Set up in 2013, OurCrowd has to date raised $650 million for 145 startup companies. OurCrowd’s funds aim to revitalize seed investment in Israeli startups, which has been declining, said Medved.

“When recent data shows a 49% decline in early-stage seed investments in Israel for 2017, OurCrowd is pouring more resources and investment into the critical seed investing arena,” said Medved.

On Thursday the company also announced that it has received approval from the Israel Tax Authority to allow private Israeli individuals investing in the OurCrowd platform to benefit from tax deductions.

The authorization, which is aimed at increasing investment from private Israeli individuals, offers a 50 percent tax write-off to accredited investors who make a net investment of $10,000 in OurCrowd and pay taxes in Israel, regardless of the company’s performance and success, said Medved.

“This will have a significant impact on the Israeli tech innovation finance scene. For the first time, a large number of angel investors will have the ability to invest in startups with a tax-advantaged status,” Medved said.

Individuals made an average of 6.5 investments in OurCrowd in 2017 totaling an average investment of $250,000 per investor, OurCrowd said. Its funds have had 18 exits. Some 50% of OurCrowd’s capital in 2017 come from Asian investors, 23% from the US, 15% from Australia, and 12% from Israel, Europe and South America, according to data provided by the company.

The 2018 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit brings together global corporations, including GE, Honda, DuPont, Samsung, entrepreneurs, industry heads, and global delegations from over 90 countries, with a total attendance of 10,000 people, the company said.

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