Israeli OurCrowd to leverage UAE relations to empower regional entrepreneurship

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Startup Image
Representational Image

Israel-based OurCrowd’s global venture investment company is busy pursuing its ambitious growth plans in the UAE due to significant synergies evident between the two countries. 

A joint online event organized by OurCrowd and the Emirates Angels Investors Association offered Israeli investors and entrepreneurs a glimpse of the tech opportunities available in the UAE.

There were over 2,000 registrants in the ‘UAE Tech Investment Landscape: Introduction to the Israeli Ecosystem’ who could able to communicate for the first time with some of the top business leaders and officials of the Emirates directly talking to Israelis.

Dr. Sabah Al Binali
Dr. Sabah Al Binali
Head of Operations
UAE and Gulf Region

“We will extend OurCrowd’s global investor base into the UAE and build out OurCrowd Tech Development Co in the UAE, initially focused on developing global fintech solutions. We are also planning to launch OurCrowd Arabia Business Expansion Fund I, which will focus on investing in the business operations of global startups looking to expand their tech-based research, development and innovation operations into the GCC. Our platform will launch OurCrowd Arabia VC Fund I, focused on investing in startups in the GCC and help them scale globally”.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Tariq bin Hendi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office; Abdullah S. Al Naboodah, Chairman of Al Naboodah Investment; Masaood Al Masaood, Chairman of the Emirates Angels Investors Association; Dhaher bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO of Abu Dhabi Global Market along with Dr. Sabah Al Binali, head of OurCrowd’s operations in the UAE and the Gulf region.

Jon Medved, CEO, OurCrowd, said: “The Emirati startups that we are already looking at are going to be very interesting for Israeli investors. It’s really fun to do business with people who are genuinely excited and positive about the recent developments. The stars are aligned for a great beginning to a long-term, fruitful and productive relationship between Israeli and Emirati investors.”

“We’re delighted to have signed with OurCrowd,” said Al Naboodah, who partnered with OurCrowd for $100 million to invest in startups across the country.

“For our business, it’s vital that we were one of the companies that started the relationship with Israeli companies. We think a lot of startups in this region would like someone like OurCrowd to help them develop. The UAE has always been the hub for the Arab world in terms of tech businesses. We’ve seen some sold for more than a couple of billion dollars”, added Al Naboodah.

Dr. Hendi said: “There’s a lot of opportunities here, a lot of room for constructive disruption and we want to have a seat at the table on the Israeli side and we want to welcome you to the table that we’re sitting at as well and help us drive that change.”

The UAE innovation ecosystem and its main industries, including agri-tech, edu-tech, health-tech and robotics, were covered by the event.

Dr. Al Binali further said: “The similar size of the Emirati and Israeli economies, and their complementary skill sets, make them extremely compatible for joint business ventures. In the UAE, Israelis will find a friendly business environment with world-class regulators, sales tax of just five percent and no corporate income tax. For someone used to a corporate tax rate of 35 percent, that’s a 50 percent increase in profit right there.”

Emirati start-ups featured a world of agriculture that uses hydroponics and vertical farming to grow crops in the high temperatures and humid environment of the UAE; Urban, a platform that allows tenants to view and visit properties and pay their rentals online; and W Motors, makers of the first electric supercar with hologram technology from the UAE that allows drivers to monitor their GPS, radio and entertainment by clicking images floating in the air.

Mr. Al Masaaod said: “The UAE ecosystem has developed rapidly in the last two years and there are many players that angel investors can tap into. When we look at Israel, known as the ‘startup nation’, we have a lot to learn from the success stories over there in many fields like agritech, healthcare, artificial intelligence, security and many others where we can collaborate.”