Equity crowdfunding continues to heat up with news from not one but two Israel-based companies today bringing in a total of $24 million in venture capital to help fund and grow their platforms. Unlike broader platforms like StartEngine, which allow anyone to invest, the companies introduced below are only open to accredited investors.
Here’s what you need to know about them.
Shelly Hod Moyal and Mor Assia, founders of iAngels.
Headquartered in Tel Aviv, iAngels today announced that it has raised a $14 million round of funding led by Alex Waislitz of Australian firm Thorney Investment Group.
The company's equity crowdfunding platform is built on the strength of Israel's existing angel investors, which has helped the Middle Eastern country be a powerful force in the global startup and technology community. iAngels has opted for a crowdsourcing model of fundraising because it saves time and money for investors who may not want to spend all their time meeting with and evaluating emerging startups. As for entrepreneurs, the benefits are much the same, centered around time-saving and cost-saving.
As evidence of its growing success, iAngels points to acquisition exits (Big Blue Parrot bought by Playtika and MyRoll bought by AVG) and fundraising (TravelersBox raised $14.5 million) for its portfolio companies.
"Spurred by our success in Israel, our global network of angel investors continues to grow, enjoying exclusive access to innovative startups through our unique model of trusted partnerships, data analytics, and due diligence," said iAngels founding partner Mor Assia in a prepared statement.
The company says it will use the new funding to expand beyond Israel as well as to add services for multi-family and institutional investors.
Headquartered in Jerusalem and launched three years ago, OurCrowd today announced that it has secured a $10 million investment from Singapore firm United Overseas Bank Limited.
OurCrowd, as with iAngels, offers accredited investors the opportunity to invest with other venture capital firms and angel investors who have been vetted. The idea is that you can trust your peers and therefore make trustworthy investments.
In sum, OurCrowd has invested over $200 million in its 93 portfolio companies, and has seen four exits from those companies: two went public (Rewalk and Trendlines) and the other two were acquired (Nextpeer by Rakuten/Viber and BillGuard by Prosper).
As to be expected through its newest backer, OurCrowd plans to extend its equity crowdfunding service beyond Israel’s borders to the Asian investor community.
“The beauty of crowdfunding OurCrowd style is that the investor in Asia can now access quality deal flow in Israel, Silicon Valley, and beyond, while a Singapore entrepreneur can easily gain top notch global backing,” said OurCrowd founder and CEO Jon Medved in a prepared statement.
I reached out to both iAngels and OurCrowd to hear if they compete with each other much, and heard back from Leah Stern, Director of Communications at OurCrowd. She said they're a "fan" of iAngels, but also pointed out her firm is "about 10 times bigger in terms of capital raised to date" (approximately $200 million vs. $20 million).
She suggests that is a result of OurCrowd's focus on investing from seed to Series E (whereas iAngels focuses on just the early stages) and the fact that OurCrowd invests globally, with 25 percent of the firm's portfolio based outside of Israel.
If I hear back from iAngels on their point of view, I'll update this story.