JERUSALEM, Israel — The future of tech investing is housed–barely–in a stone spice warehouse on the Hebron Road in Jerusalem.
There are, I am told, bullet holes in the walls, from the days when the building faced the boundary with Jordan. On the day I visit, it sounds like a war zone–a battle of drills and hammers, fire alarms and telephones, as the company expands into neighboring space. Only two years old, OurCrowd is revolutionizing startup funding–and growing rapidly.
OurCrowd was founded by Jonathan Medved, brother to American conservative commentator Michael Medved, and one of Israel’s high-tech pioneers.
The idea is simple: create a platform for crowdfunding tech startups by screening companies and investors, providing a one-stop shop for people who want access to early-stage companies, and for companies that might otherwise lack access to capital. Focused on Israel, OurCrowd has aided startups in California and elsewhere.
One recent California project, for example, is MyAgentFinder.com, a San Diego-based company that helps real estate buyers and sellers find local agents–and shares in the commissions from agents who use the service to close deals. Another company that OurCrowd has funded is Israel-based Syqe Medical, a pharmaceutical company which focuses on an area of special interest to California: it created the world’s first inhaler to provide prescribed doses of medical marijuana.
Though its primary aim is to provide fuel for the burgeoning Israeli startup world, the company was actually inspired by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012, passed by the Republican House and signed by President Barack Obama, which made crowdfunding and stock sales easier for startup enterprises.
Medved is an investor with a mission, which is to highlight and support the positive side of Israeli life. In the process, OurCrowd has created hundreds of jobs in Israel and around the world. It has also helped produce new and valuable ideas–such as CropX, a smartphone app that helps farmers use sensors to irrigate crops more efficiently. It is a tool with obvious relevance for drought-stricken California–bringing the benefits of the tech boom right back to where it started.
As Medved told Breitbart News: “OurCrowd is providing easy access for ten million American accredited investors to the esoteric and lucrative world of startup investing. Entrepreneurship and innovation are the growth engines for both America and Israel, and OurCrowd is tightening the already strong economic ties between these two countries.
“Equity crowdfunding is going to be a huge part of how venture capital is raised in the future and OurCrowd will continue to play a leadership role in this burgeoning market.”