TechNation: OurCrowd Raises $72 Million for Equity Crowdfunding

Lemonade to sell peer-to-peer insurance policies; Israel easing rules on dual-use exports; Keshet, Dick Clark Productions form media-tech investment fund.

Jonathan 'Jon' Medved, CEO of OurCrowd Ltd., an Israel-based crowd funding company.Simon Dawson, Bloomberg

OurCrowd raises $72 million for equity crowdfunding

OurCrowd, the Israeli-based equity crowdfunding company, said Wednesday it had raised $72 million in new funding from unnamed financial institutions, family offices and private investors from five continents. CEO Jon Medved said half the proceeds will be spent in expanding OurCrowd’s seven global offices and developing its online investment, and the remainder on co-investment with its customers. “This transformative ... funding will allow us to take advantage of the growing investor interest in quality equity crowdfunding and further expand our global operations,” Medved said. “This new capital will help us hit our goal of investing $1 billion annually by 2020.” Since it was launched in 2013 as a way for small investors to pool their money to invest in high-tech startups, OurCrowd has invested $300 million in 100 companies and funds. Two of the portfolio companies have had initial public offerings and seven have been acquired, it says. (TheMarker Staff)

Lemonade approved in New York to sell peer-to-peer insurance policies

Lemonade, an American-Israeli peer-to-peer insurance startup, was cleared on Wednesday by regulators to begin offering insurance coverage in New York state. Lemonade will offer renters’ and homeowners’ insurance starting from $5 and $35 a month, respectively. The company pools the premiums of customers on the basis of the charitiesthey choose, takes a fixed 20% of the premiums and pays their claims out of that pool. Policy holders can submit claims within minutes on their mobile devices. Anything that is left at the end of the year goes to the selected charity. Founded a year ago by CEO Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, Lemonade got approval unusually quickly from the regulators overseeing one of the largest U.S. markets for property-casualty insurance. Lemonade has just 24 employees, most of  whom work at its Tel Aviv research and development center. (Eliran Rubin)

Keshet, Dick Clark Productions form media-tech investment fund

Israeli television broadcaster Keshet and the production company founded by the late television personality Dick Clark have formed a venture capital fund to invest in media-oriented startup companies. The KDC Fund plans to invest in 15 startups focused on content, digital advertising, virtual reality and video over the next three years, putting as much as $500,000 into each one. Portfolio companies will also get technology and business assistance, including collaboration with Keshet’s Mako website and applications, as well as opportunities to participate in TV programming produced by Keshet  International — Keshet’s overseas programming arm — and Dick Clark Productions, which produces award shows and reality television series. The two companies, which formed a reality-TV joint venture three years ago, have already put money into Israeli startups Uponit, which develops anti-ad-blocking software, and Syte, which develops image-recognition technology for the fashion industry. (Nati Tucker)

Israel easing rules on dual-use exports

Israel is acting to make it easier for high-tech companies to export so-called dual-use technology, with both civilian and military applications, amid concerns that companies are losing business due to lengthy approval processes. “Months of delays in approving dual-use exports by high-tech companies operating in Israel have led to many hundreds of layoffs, maybe more than 1,000,” said a figure in the Economy and Industry Ministry on Wednesday. Together with the Foreign Ministry, the ministry has taken a greater role in the process, which was once controlled entirely by the Defense Ministry and give a stronger weighting to business considerations.  But concerns raised by about delays, which have affected multinationals operating in Israel like Apple and Applied Materials as well as Israeli companies such as Marvell and Mellanox, has led officials to change the procedures so that many permits won’t require Defense Ministry approval. (Ora Coren)