OurCrowd to up its focus on ‘huge potential’ of overlooked early-stage firms
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OurCrowd to up its focus on ‘huge potential’ of overlooked early-stage firms

Crowdfunding VC firm to hold Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem on Thursday, with Chinese and other Asian delegations absent amid coronavirus crisis

Full house at OurCrowd 2019 summit in Jerusalem (Shoshanna Solommon/Times of Israel)
Full house at OurCrowd 2019 summit in Jerusalem (Shoshanna Solommon/Times of Israel)

OurCrowd, a Jerusalem-based crowdfunding venture capital firm, said it seeks to boost investment in seed and early stage startups, which are seeing a dearth of investors.

“There is huge opportunity to invest in game-changing technology companies at their earliest stage – in pre-seed, seed, and series A funding rounds,” said OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved in a statement on Wednesday.

“Early stage investing is at best stagnant, and in many cases down, both in Israel and around the world, as most venture capitalists chase unicorns and are showering later stage companies with unprecedented amounts of capital at increasingly nosebleed inducing valuations,” he said. “We want to increase our activity and focus where the next generation of breakthrough technologies will emerge. Nature abhors a vacuum, and now there is vast and underappreciated potential in early-stage investing.”

According to the IVC-Meitar Israel Tech Exits report on the decade ending 2019, Israeli tech companies raised a record $8.29 billion in 2019, a 400 percent increase since 2010. The report showed that late-stage companies increased their share of total investment in recent years, while total seed funding fell. A total of $149 million was invested in seed rounds in 2019, down from $169 million the previous year. From 2010 to 2019, the percentage of deals involving rounds under $1 million dropped from 24% to 17%.

OurCrowd has over the last two years won government licenses to operate four incubators in Israel, where early tech firms are fostered, together with other partners. This will give it the opportunity to tap into early stage startups.

OurCrowd is to host its Global Investor Summit on Thursday, attended by thousands of investors from around the world and startup entrepreneurs.

This year, in the shadow of the coronavirus that has seen companies canceling their attendance at events, the Chinese delegations will of course be absent, Medved said, along with “a handful of other Asian delegates choosing to stay at home.”

“Otherwise everything else is ‘all systems go’….and we are fully geared up for our best and most attended summit so far,” he said in an emailed text in answer to a Times of Israel query. Over 200 delegations from 183 countries are scheduled to attend the event, the company said in a statement earlier this week.

A board member of the Spanish football club FC Barcelona, Marta Plana Dropez; chief transformation officer of the football club Real Madrid CF Michael Sutherland; and Michael Redd, former NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist, will be attending the event, which will showcase, among others, Israeli sports technology, the company said in the statement.

SportsTech startups that will be featured at the event include:

  • Track 160, which is developing fully automatic football analytics, coaching and prediction service using cutting-edge deep learning technology.
  • Playsight, a provider of immersive sports video and analytics technology.
  • Kemtai, an early-stage Israeli startup that uses advanced computer vision to create a personalized home fitness experience, offering users the ability to train with a virtual AI coach.
  • Blink, which developed software that automatically detects and saves key moments in a sports match, to create shareable stories.
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