April 19, 2024
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OurCrowd Global Investor Summit 2023: Taking the Abraham Accords to the Next Level

“Partnerships can achieve many things,” said Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd, at a session about a FoodTech start-up, Freshstart.

FreshStart, a global FoodTech incubator, announced at the OurCrowd Global Summit, that it had reached 10 investments in the incubator, with three companies already raising external funding totaling $22 million.

The Summit, which is the largest investor event in the Middle East, returned to Jerusalem on February 15, with more than 8,500 in-person participants from over 80 countries around the world, including delegations from Asia, Latin America, Australia, Europe, the US, the Middle East and North Africa.

This year, the OurCrowd Summit celebrated 10 years since the founding of OurCrowd. During the decade of its existence, OurCrowd secured more than $2.1B in investment commitments. The OurCrowd portfolio saw its 61st exit in January, with more expected in 2023.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke at the opening plenary session of the Summit, calling for both sides of the Israeli judicial reform debate to come together and reach a compromise. “I think the same way you see the innovative spirit of the State of Israel, you also see it in this debate and I am very proud of my brothers and sisters—the Israelis taking an active role in the debate from all of its sides. All I can say about myself is that I’m doing my best to direct this debate into a constructive dialogue that will lead to an agreed-upon result that will strengthen, foster and protect Israeli democracy,” said Herzog.

The summit began with a joint press conference on the Abraham Accords. Jon Medved said, “The Middle East is coming together today at the OurCrowd Summit with large delegations from the UAE, Morocco and more countries from the region. The presence of dozens of startups, investors, and government officials from these and other countries represents a huge vote of confidence in the future. The Abraham Accords are now facilitating significant progress on technology, business, and investment between Israel and its Arab neighbors and we are proud to be playing a catalyzing and facilitating role in this remarkable development.”

Indeed, on the morning of the Summit, Medved, OurCrowd Arabia Chairman Dr. Sabah al-Binali, and CEO of UM6P Ventures Yasser Biaz participated in a press conference highlighting the growth of Morocco’s tech ecosystem as well as the overall impact that the Abraham Accords are creating in the region.

“The Abraham Accords have ushered in a new reality for Israel and the MENA Region. OurCrowd is very proud to have played a significant role in establishing the beginnings of new, fruitful partnerships for our portfolio companies, investors and partners in both Israel and Morocco,” said Medved. “We look forward to further growing this wonderful partnership, and we expect to regularly welcome even larger Moroccan delegations in the near future.”

OurCrowd Arabia Chairman Dr. Sabah al-Binali who hosted the panel said, “This is the first time that the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit hosts major delegations from the UAE and the Gulf region, and we are very pleased to have such strong representation in attendance. This is testament to the growing commercial ties between the countries and I look forward to developing this further as we build out OurCrowd’s business in the UAE and across the Middle East.”

At the Summit, members of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Hub71, Abu Dhabi Residents Office (ADRO) and more than eight other entities hosted The Abu Dhabi Pavilion showcasing business and investment opportunities in the emirate. A sizable number of investors, entrepreneurs and other business leaders from the UAE and other MENA countries were also in attendance, including DIFC, which is home to more than 60 % of all FinTech firms operating in the GCC.

OurCrowd Arabia Head of Business Development MENA Youssef Seffar commented, “Morocco has great potential as a gateway to Africa and Europe, and now when we add our strategic relationship with Israel, the sky’s the limit.”

Esther Ohayon, who grew up in Kew Gardens, said, “We came on Nefesh B Nefesh’s maiden voyage 21 years ago from New York. We were the first group of olim Rabbi Fass brought to Israel and it was thrilling. We miss our families back in the old country but never regretted the move.”

When reflecting on the Summit, Ohayon said, “I was hoping to see more FemTech companies at the Summit but I was very pleased to see all the companies helping to save our planet. … I was proud that the OurCrowd Summit is considered the biggest in the region and has taken a leadership role in investment in the Mideast.

“I think the highlight of the day was hearing from the Abu Dhabi investment team representing a 1.8 billion market of people. They now have an office in Israel. HE Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi came to the stage and gave Jon Medved the biggest sincere hug. They talked about all the opportunities, in many sectors, between the countries.

“The best quote that ended the session and made people cheer and many eyes water was from Dr. Sabah al-Binali, executive chairman and partner of OurCrowd Arabia, who said, ‘It is our dream to get Israeli and Arab entrepreneurs in the same startup.’”

David Corman, a digital marketing and advertising consultant who made aliyah from New Jersey after attending Rutgers University said, “The OurCrowd summit was an energy-filled event. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the tech ecosystem in Israel and globally.”

Tzvi Silverstone, from New York, said, “I came to find robots and innovative technology. The people and companies I met didn’t disappoint… I was especially impressed with advances in medical technology using robotics and AI.”

There was an added significance to the Summit in that just a few miles away the previous week there was a car-ramming terror attack on Erev Shabbat in which three young Jews were murdered and their families were sitting shiva. The Summit also showed all the good that Israel was doing in the world to help humanity, and that despite the will of the terrorists to stop our daily routine, they will not succeed.

Benjy Singer lives in Jerusalem and is a freelance journalist covering Jewish world and Israel stories. He can be reached at [email protected]

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