Asian investors appreciate Israeli innovators’ respect for tradition, says OurCrowd’s Jon MedvedMay. 2, 2016
It was an off day in Jerusalem when we got the chance to sit down. Israelis were getting ready to read the Book of Esther in synagogues across the country that night for the annual carnival festival of Purim, but Jerusalemites were teeming at work. For historical reasons, Jerusalem’s Purim is celebrated on a different day than it is in the rest of the world. Even so, many workers from the 90-strong office live outside the capital, so they found themselves working from home for the day ahead of the festivities. I was lucky enough to catch Jon Medved between trips, waiting for the holiday to start.
OurCrowd had just announced a $10 million investment from Singapore’s United Overseas Bank, launching the hybrid VC’s first major venture in the East.
“It took us a year of engagement there to get the deal done. It was about a long courtship and knowing what we were getting into and that we were in this for the long term,” Medved told Geektime. Some of OurCrowd’s companies, like Trendlines, already have people on the ground in the city state. Others sound ready to follow.
“Singapore is a special partner of Israel,” he says, adding that, “If you look anywhere in the East then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better ally than Singapore. Trade partners. Rumored defense partners. Upon landing there, you universally get to hear from the customs guy or taxi drivers, ‘I love that place,’ when they hear that you’re from Israel.”