The OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, the biggest business event in Israel, returns to Jerusalem on Feb. 15th after a three-year break caused by the pandemic.
Bringing our global community of high-tech investors, startup entrepreneurs and multinational partners together in one place is always a pleasure, but this year, after so many months of Zooms, Skypes and FaceTimes, it feels like a necessity.
We created the OurCrowd Summit back in 2014 because my career began through conferences. They changed my life. Ever since, I have repeatedly witnessed their ability to mobilize, inspire and transform people.
There is something about stepping out of your day-to-day routine and meeting a lively collection of smart, like-minded people with similar goals. If the event is structured correctly so you can provoke, educate, set the agenda, entertain, facilitate networking, ease interaction and allow for a bit of serendipity and fun with good food and drink and the chance to meet new people and make new friends, it all creates a kind of magic.
At such events we transcend the daily grind of business and get together with like-minded people to think bigger and reach further.
As a student organizer on campus, I seemed to live from conference to conference. At MERET, the company founded by my father where I first learned the startup business, I created conferences for our scattered sales reps. We kept it light, with a free hotel stay on a beach north of Santa Monica, copious food, and a lot of down time. Everyone came. These gatherings became the glue that held the team together and helped make the company successful.
So there was no question that when it came to cementing relationships between the people connected through our online investment platform, OurCrowd must have a conference of its own. Our venture was all about building a community that would not only provide access to the asset class of private venture investing and a new scalable way to provide capital, but more importantly mobilize the community to add value to these startup companies. It was clear that some kind of conference would become necessary, if not essential.
And so the OurCrowd summit was born.
This year, OurCrowd celebrates our 10th anniversary and reaching the milestone of $2 billion in investment commitments. After a three-year hiatus, the Summit is more important than ever. We return as the high-tech investment community is faced by an agenda that seems almost overwhelming.
On one hand, we see geopolitical instability, financial market jitters and a global economic outlook that sends chills down the spine of many investors.
At the same time, we see the urgent issues that so badly need the new technology that only venture investing can create: food insecurity, health inequity, supply-chain problems, energy shortages, cybersecurity threats and, most worrying of all, the looming shadow of climate change that threatens the very future of our planet.
So the Summit is not just about old friends reuniting after an enforced absence. It is about tackling these urgent challenges that will be front and center of our discussions.
Venture-backed technology, created at speed by smart, nimble startups, can provide the answers to many of these problems. But the only way to address them effectively is by gathering together the innovators who create the necessary technology, the entrepreneurs who transform those ideas into reality, and the investors who provide the financial fuel to bring them to market. Only as a unified, committed team can we hope to solve the issues that at first glance seem too big to handle.
This year, our global outlook will be even more prominently on display with significant participation by our newly close neighbors from the Gulf states, as well as Asia, Africa and the rest of the world.
I expect the Summit to be, for many, another life-changing experience. In the past, we’ve hosted cancer patients whose tumors have been successfully treated by one of our companies. We’ve hosted paraplegics who were able to celebrate their wedding upright because of one of our companies. We’ve hosted Nobel Prize winners, household names, heads of giant multinationals, award-winning inventors and some of the world’s wealthiest individuals.
Our global community of more than 200,000 people has become a diverse, multinational, creative, wealthy, larger-than-life list of outsize personalities and striking talents. When you bring all these people together in one place, the sparks fly.
Millions of dollars
At OurCrowd we pride ourselves on the quality of the food, the lavish supplies of beer and coffee and the abundance of fun, but the Summit is not just for kicks. Hundreds of meetings will be held and participants will expand their professional network by rubbing shoulders with prospective partners and investors they could never meet anywhere else. It’s a place where business gets done, where deals are struck and where checks for millions of dollars change hands.
The Summit also gives a glimpse into the future. Dozens of startups we have featured over the years have gone on to achieve an exit or an IPO within months of appearing on stage.
Without belittling the importance of videoconferencing and the immense benefits it has brought to our lives in the past three years, I do not believe that real relationships can be maintained solely via Zoom. Relationships flourish when they happen face to face, when people are moved, when lives can be changed.
The astounding advances in online connectivity have been a game changer but the true magic happens when you combine the virtual and the real. We should not retreat to a fully analog, in-person past. But neither have we lost the need to meet in person.
We need to sit together, eat, drink and dance together. We want to be moved by the sheer personal presence of meeting inspiring thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders. There is no comparison, no substitute, to hugging our friends and feeling the warmth and physical connection that makes us people.
So if you are an accredited investor who wants to gain access to venture capital, come join us in Jerusalem on Feb. 15th for the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit.
Together, we will address some serious issues, do some serious business, and have some serious fun.
Times of Israel readers can receive a 20% December Discount off registration to the OurCrowd Summit, valid until Dec. 31. Insert the promo code OCSUMMIT20 and click HERE.