START UP NATION

“Unleashing the start-up nation” was the topic of a scintillating address to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum by Dan Bennett, managing director of OurCrowd – an Israeli venture-capital crowdfunding company.

OurCrowd has made a remarkable impact on the global business scene, attracting billions of dollars of investment to Israel to seed state-of-the-art projects which push the boundaries, particularly in the medical-technical area.

NSWJBD - Dan Bennett Plenum
Dan Bennett (second from left) with members of his family.

He enthralled the packed Education Centre at the Sydney Jewish Museum with a litany of examples, including software which enabled the US authorities to catch the Boston Bomber, and Re-walk – a revolutionary device which enables paraplegics to walk again.

With a background in private banking, investment and law, Bennett has a passion for all things entrepreneurial and an innate love of Israel. It was this combination that brought him back from his career in London.

Founded two years ago in Jerusalem by Jon Medved – one of The New York Times’ 10 most influential Americans to impact Israel – OurCrowd is breathing new life into the global venture capital space. With the help of Sydney businessmen Geoff Levy and David Shein, OurCrowd has extended its global reach to over 60 countries, recently opening its Australian office to serve as a launchpad into the Asia-Pacific region.
OurCrowd has introduced a new philosophy to connect global investors with Israeli start-ups. Their point of difference allows sophisticated investors to invest as little as $10,000 and choose the company to invest in. Approximately 75% of their investments emanate from Israel –  the country with the highest number per capita of start-ups in the world.
The Israeli office has a staff of 50, who, together with the global team, identify promising start-ups, help manage the investment and provide ongoing mentorship. With a keen interest in cyber security, medical technology, agricultural technology and e-commence. OurCrowd has invested $100 million in 56 businesses. Rewalk has been cleared for personal use in the US and listed on the NASDAQ.

Investors have played their part in making ground breaking technologies possible, such as the world’s first commercialised hand-held molecular sensor, a fingerprint authentication for firearm safety, multiple cyber-attack prevention systems and patient-specific 3D imaging for surgical rehearsal.

The first OurCrowd global summit was held in Jerusalem late last year. It attracted over 1000 attendees including current investors, potential investors, innovators and key media.

Delivering a vote of thanks, Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff noted that the success of OurCrowd “is the best antidote to BDS, the best antidote to those who seek to delegitimise, and therefore destroy, Israel.”