Crowdfunding is growing up.
GE Ventures, the venture capital wing of General Electric, today entered a co-investment partnership with Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd that will enable GE Ventures to co-invest with OurCrowd in select early stage companies.
Launched in May 2013, Silicon Valley-based GE Ventures plans to invest $150 million annually across energy, healthcare, software, and advanced manufacturing companies. Between the GE brand and its substantial capital pool, GE Ventures could probably snag any investment it wants through traditional channels — but the OurCrowd partnership demonstrates GE’s confidence in crowdfunding as a valuable method for company discovery.
“OurCrowd has created a unique platform for dynamic early stage origination and funding,” said GE Ventures CEO Sue Siegel in a statement. “They offer a quality investment environment, and the partnership will give GE increased access to early innovation.”
OurCrowd is an equity crowdfunding platform exclusively for accredited investors, who need to invest at least $10,000 per deal. It has raised over $24 million for its 28 portfolio companies since its Oct. 2012 launch. The biggest deal was a $2.1 million round this May for Tel Aviv-based NativeFlow, which offers a corporate data protection solution for mobile devices.
OurCrowd raised a $5.5 million funding round in Feb. 2013 through its own platform. It intends to expand internationally, but will continue to focus primarily on Israel, which has a burgeoning high-tech scene.
It’s been a good year for the Israeli tech industry. Last week, device insurer Asurion snapped up Tel Aviv-based Soluto for north of $100 million, just after Facebook bought Israeli mobile analytics startup Onavo for an estimated $150 to $200 million. And in June, Google acquired crowdsourced navigation company Waze for a whopping $1.3 billion.
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