Israel-based global venture investing platform OurCrowd announced a partnership with Toyota Tsusho Corporation today. OurCrowd and the Japanese general trading company – and member of the Toyota Group – have forged a business and technology scouting partnership that will seek out startups innovating in areas that support autonomous driving. This includes services and products leveraging technologies such as sensors, image recognition, data compression, and security.
OurCrowd will serve as a “technology scout” per the arrangement, which will leverage the company’s local and global networks, deal flow pipeline, and roster of portfolio companies to find innovators not just in mobility, but in other areas ranging from smart cities to big data in agriculture, as well.
“We are proud to be partnering with a general trading company such as Toyota Tsusho,” OurCrowd founder and CEO Jon Medved said. “Not only do they represent a 70 year tradition of excellence in global business, but they are focused on solving real global problems. Together we can help startups turn into ‘scaleups’ by providing access to Toyota Tsusho’s unrivaled platform that can deploy new technologies and products quickly and effectively in over 120 markets around the world.”
Toyota Tsusho EVP, Regional CEO and CTO Minoru Murata added that constructive relationships between technology leaders and startups are critical to incumbents, as well. “To ensure our future leadership we must identify, invest, and work with startups who are changing the world we live in,” Murata said.
OurCrowd demonstrated the mobile app for its crowd investing platform for accredited investors at FinovateSpring 2016. Founded in 2013, OurCrowd has $1.2 billion in committed funds, and has invested in 200 portfolio companies and funds. More than 37,000 accredited and institutional investors from 183 countries have funded startups via OurCrowd.
Earlier this month, OurCrowd announced that Stifel Financial Corporation had taken a minority stake in the company. The investment, amount undisclosed, also includes a strategic partnership that will enable Stifel’s investors to access offerings from the OurCrowd platform. Stifel is the 7th largest retail brokerage in the U.S. with more than $300 billion in client assets.
In September, OurCrowd opened an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the company’s 13th global location. That month, the company also announced a partnership with Finistere, Tnuva, and Tempo to launch a foodtech incubator. It’s worth noting that OurCrowd’s most recent – and arguably most famous – exit is Beyond Meat, which went public earlier this year.
This summer, in a sign of increasing interest in the U.S., OurCrowd unveiled new offices in Chicago, Illinois, its third in the country.