UOB crowdfunding partner OurCrowd raises $98m

United Overseas Bank's (UOB's) equity crowdfunding partner OurCrowd has raised US$72 million (S$98 million) in a round of funding. Participants in the start-up's capital raising include financial institutions such as UOB, family offices and private investors from five continents.

Ms Janet Young, head of group channels and digitalisation at UOB, said the bank's latest investment in Israel-based OurCrowd reinforces its commitment to supporting start-ups and small businesses. UOB invested US$10 million in OurCrowd in March, but declined to say how much it had invested in this latest round.

The platform allows firms to exchange equity or shares in their company for funding. Under the partnership, UOB can refer companies from its tech incubator and accelerator programmes to OurCrowd to be considered for fund-raising, with the OurCrowd team deciding on its portfolio companies.

"We understand the ambitions of start-ups and emerging enterprises and want to help them grow into sustainable businesses," Ms Young said in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with OurCrowd to further develop their platform to support the start-up ecosystem both in Singapore and the broader Asian market."

Mr Denes Ban, OurCrowd's managing director of Asia, said the successful fund-raising exercise highlights the strength of OurCrowd's traction in Asia and the depth of its partnerships in Singapore. Its chief executive Jon Medved said half the funds raised will be invested in the expansion of the firm's seven global offices and to further develop its technology platform.

"The other half will be used for OurCrowd to invest our own capital alongside the crowd investors into the companies raising funds on the platform. We envision that this new capital will power the next US$1 billion to be invested on OurCrowd."

OurCrowd has invested in 100 portfolio companies and funds on its equity crowdfunding platform. Total investment in companies and funds has exceeded US$300 million, while seven of the companies on its portfolio have been acquired and two others publicly listed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2016, with the headline 'UOB crowdfunding partner OurCrowd raises $98m'. Print Edition | Subscribe