The Jerusalem-based crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has teamed up with the National Australian Bank (NAB) in an innovative partnership to bring a first-of-its-kind opportunity to investors Down Under.
The new collaboration will provide direct access to exclusive start-up investments for private banking clients, according to the partners. The companies announced their new collaboration on Sunday, on the sidelines of an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Women Leaders Delegation in Israel.
“We know that our clients are looking globally for investment opportunities, and OurCrowd is an established global platform which offers a full service end-to-end solution,” said Christine Yates, executive general manager of NAB Private.
“Technology is changing the way we do business and this shows how banks need to think differently when it comes to servicing their clients,” she continued. “Our NAB clients will have access not available outside this collaboration.”
To date, OurCrowd has raised more than $440 million from some 20,000 investors across 112 countries for 120 early-stage companies. The National Australian Bank, meanwhile, is a top-30 global bank and Australia’s leading business bank, serving individuals and business customers that range from small- and medium-sized enterprises through some of the continent’s largest institutions.
OurCrowd entered the Australian market in 2014, providing the local market with global alternative investment opportunities, according to the firm.
“The collaboration provides NAB Private clients a high-quality, globally-focused product with particular scope in USA, Israel and Asia-Pacific,” said Dan Bennett, managing director of OurCrowd Australia and Asia. “We are excited about this venture with one of Australia’s leading private banks and sharing the very best of global technology investment with their deeply valued clients.”
The partnership between OurCrowd and the National Australian Bank marks the first time Australian banking clients will have access to start-ups in such a structured manner, Bennett told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“The real exciting part is providing the bank, which is the largest private bank in Australia and the largest business bank, and their clients, access to the innovation sector,” Bennett said.
Until now, he said, access to such investments in Australia was available only to very wealthy individuals who were writing checks to specific funds.
Although the agreement announced on Sunday is the formalization of a partnership between OurCrowd and NAB, the two companies already have a history of working together, Bennett said. Most recently, the bank invested in Canadian software firm Wave, another OurCrowd company.
The collaboration is also a testament to the growing economic relationship between Israel and Australia, as Australian entrepreneurs continue to enter the Israeli market and as Israeli hi-tech start-ups are listing on the Australian Securities Exchange, Bennettt said.
“It’s sort of a two-way bridge being built between Australia and Israel,” he said.
While NAB executives looked at a number of different platforms as potential partners, OurCrowd offered “the right structure” and a special ecosystem that is “democratizing the opportunities for investment,” added Yates. Another advantage offered by OurCrowd, she said, is its Israeli home base.
“Silicon Valley has been around for a long time,” Yates continued, noting that Israel is a much more accessible environment. “There’s an opportunity to really build relationships because it’s earlier stage.”
Yates also cited Israel’s egalitarian business culture and its “brashness from bottom-up” as attractive elements for Australian investors.
“It’s not formal, it’s not top-down,” she said.
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