Building the ecosystem. Leveraging the network. Helping our portfolio companies succeed.
Every startup wants to work with investors that will help solve problems and spring their business forward. Every venture capital firm boasts their “entrepreneur friendly” initiatives that sets them a part from the others. “We do X better than other VCs.” “We match our founders with experts to advise them with Y.” “We offer to our companies Z to help them raise follow-on funding.”
In a growing industry of more than 798 venture capital firms in the U.S. alone, as important as receiving capital is who you get it from. A few brand name venture capital firms embody legendary value-add that offer the edge to outperform others. Andreessen Horowitz, the forefather of value-add venture investing, has built an operating model around giving founders the ability run their companies as if they are serial entrepreneurs who have previously built successful startups. Kleiner Perkins opened a fellowship program to find talented individuals to work with their portfolio companies. First Round Capital has a team that helps their founders fast forward through the tough nitty-gritty of building an early stage company by using their “Pitch Assist Team” to help with their decks and pitches, or their “Talent Team” to connect their startups with top-tier candidates.
— Josh Kopelman (@joshk) May 31, 2016
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At OurCrowd, we’re working towards disrupting the value-add model by leveraging our diverse global investment network – OurNetwork – to help portfolio companies succeed. Beyond portfolio companies, this vast network includes strategic multinational partners & corporations, seasoned founders & executives, and most importantly, investors from across the globe.
From the moment the term sheet is signed, our portfolio companies will be able to plug into a supercharged network that gives founders — especially first-time founders — the tools and global rolodex of a seasoned CEO. While until now this has been a case-by-case manual process, we’re beginning to leverage OurNetwork in a more systematic and data-driven manner, building tools to optimize our efforts at every step of the way.
For any startup, especially an Israeli startup, a major challenge is reaching relevant contacts in the target market.
Sight Diagnostics, a company pioneering an innovative computer vision platform for cheaper, faster, and fully-automated blood diagnostics, was seeking connections to make the next push into the global market. In Q3 2016, the Sight team worked to gain introductions to doctors and managers at relevant medical facilities with the intention of conducting short phone interviews. Through key connected investors, Sight was introduced to Walgreens Healthcare Clinics, executives at Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins, and dozens of relevant doctors and managers of medical facilities.
Marketing & PR
It’s no secret that early stage companies are in a fierce competition to increase their brand awareness. On top of that, it’s nearly impossible for early stage companies to control free virality and exponential organic growth.
Surgical Theater, a virtual reality solution that combines the science of flight simulation with advanced CT/MRI imaging technology, was seeking a push into the global spotlight, but was having difficulty securing meaningful PR. Within 24 hours of receiving the request, an OurCrowd executive arranged a strategic interview with Surgical Theater and CNN’s Erin Burnett, that showcased the company in front of millions of viewers worldwide.
As an investor, having a global network of thousands of fellow investors is a powerful tool. Aside from leveraging the network for strategic business and portfolio development, an essential piece of the puzzle is sourcing dealflow through the network.
In mid-2016, an OurCrowd investor from the United States approached our Investment Team with an interesting company. As an early angel in the company, he brought us the deal as the company was raising their next round. After performing thorough due diligence, including a site visit to their HQ in India, OurCrowd made an investment in the company’s Series A & B rounds. Through OurCrowd, 177 investors from 22 countries invested over $5.5M alongside Ford Motor Company, Sequoia Capital, and Nokia Growth Partners.
It’s all about scale
In today’s landscape, top-tier VCs prevail because of their ability to build networks that provide quality dealflow and strategic value to their portfolio companies. While every venture capital firm’s marketing reflects their value-add, we’re working towards leveraging network effects on a global scale. Whether you’re a portfolio company in Tel Aviv, New York, Sydney, or Singapore, you will have the ability to tap into a global rolodex without going through the obstacles that often drain enormous time, effort and resources.
While the anecdotes above provide a glimpse into our unique model, there’s a pipeline of value-add tools and a vault of OurNetwork success stories that have gone untold and unnoticed. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be launching game-changing tools that redefine collaborative participation from the greater ecosystem. Regardless of who you are, we’re betting that you have a role to play. If you want a sneak peak into our global innovation network and are interested in getting involved, introduce yourself here.
Thanks to Stav Erez, Liz Cohen, and Laly David for contributing to this article.