Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd seeks to expand in HK

February 12, 2018 12:20
OurCrowd sees Hong Kong as an important gateway to China and the Asia market, says founder and CEO Jonathan Medved. Photo: HKEJ

Israel-based OurCrowd has emerged as a key crowdfunding platform for accredited investors. Since its launch in 2013, the platform helped raise over US$650 million for 145 startups and some funds.

In an interview the Hong Kong Economic Journal, its founder and chief executive Jonathan Medved said the company plans to expand in Hong Kong, as the first step towards the East Asia market.

"Hong Kong is an important gateway to China and the Asia market," Medved said. "We plan to have considerable capital investment in Hong Kong, and bring the best companies, talents, and products from Israel to the city."

"We plan to set up a matching platform to connect startups in Israeli and Hong Kong," the entrepreneur said.

OurCrowd kicked off recruitment here last year, according to Medved.

"Hong Kong's English language standards, and established legal system, and more importantly, an international reputation as a free and open society are clear advantages that the city has," said Medved, claiming that these elements create an environment for greater investor confidence.

As a crowdfunding platform that marries Israeli innovation with global investment, OurCrowd focuses on vetting opportunities, investing capital, and bringing companies to the platform's community of global investors.

It also offers post-investment support to its portfolio companies, such as assigning industry experts as mentors, and taking board seats.

As of now, the OurCrowd community consists of almost 25,000 accredited investors from over 112 countries. In recent years, Asian companies have been eager to invest in high-technology and Internet startups, of which Israel is one of the world centers.

OurCrowd raised US$250 million in 2017, with around half of it coming from investors in Asia. The firm expects to boost the fund-raising on its platform four-fold this year to the US$1 billion mark.

While it has made substantial progress, the Israel-based crowdfunding platform is still relatively new to Chinese investors. Among the investors in OurCrowd community, Chinese are believed to be just around 100 in number. 

Hong Kong has long been said to be lagging behind Israel and even Asian cities in developing innovation and technology.

Medved noted that young graduates in Hong Kong tend to choose a career in banks, large corporations or the public sector.

"It takes time for cultural change to take its course. But it is great that we have seen a significant improvement in Hong Kong's startup environment," he said.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 12

Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting

[Chinese version 中文版]

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