OurPeople: Alec Ellison, Chairman, OurCrowd US

By OURCROWD “Prices in the public market are stretched, which is why one should invest earlier in a company’s development cycle.” For 30 years, Alec Ellison helped hundreds of technology companies seal M&A deals that redefined the industry landscape. Since joining OurCrowd in 2016, he’s been putting that expertise to work to cultivate the innovation leaders of tomorrow. “Being on the inside means you can make a bigger difference fundamentally,” says Ellison, Chairman of OurCrowd US. “You can have a greater impact on one narrow area as opposed to a limited impact on many companies. That’s why this was such an attraction to me.” Ellison, 58, took on the role in May 2019 after three years on OurCrowd’s advisory board. He previously worked at Jefferies LLC where he was a Vice Chairman and Executive Committee member, roles he took on after leading the technology investment banking group for many years. He came to Jefferies through its acquisition of Broadview International, where he was President. Ellison, who lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, but hails from Charleston, South Carolina, and has been...

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SPACs Unpacked: What Investors Need to know

• SPACs offer many advantages over IPOs or raising more private capital• Strategic venture investors have several tools to mitigate the risks and add value The spring selloff of SPAC stocks has prompted concern about the future of this complex merger/IPO mechanism. But recent trends only reinforce the importance of understanding how valuations are set in SPAC deals, which we believe will continue to reshape the market for venture capital exits. Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have accelerated the path to public markets for privately held companies. For years, startups stayed private for longer, backed by massive capital injections from megafunds. Now, the road to public markets has been reopened by SPACs, shell companies established with the sole purpose of raising money through an IPO to eventually acquire another company. SPACS have become a legitimate and attractive option for company founders and investors alike. Still, many questions deserve attention. Why should startups pursue a SPAC buyer? Does the valuation process work without traditional IPO gatekeepers? And how can you reduce risks for investors after the target company is acquired...

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SPAC 101: A beginner’s guide to investing in the SPAC route to a startup exit

What is a SPAC and Why Should I Care? Over the past year special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have become the hottest commodity in the initial public offering (IPO) market. A few years ago, SPACs were rare and were considered by many to be somewhat disreputable: it was felt that only a company that wasn’t strong enough to go the traditional IPO route would go public via a SPAC. That changed dramatically last year. In 2020, SPACs raised half as much money as traditional IPOs, and, as reported by Reuters, for the first quarter of 2021 they’ve raised 76% as much money as traditional IPOs. Clearly SPACs are a hot ticket in the world of finance right now. Two of OurCrowd’s portfolio companies – Arbe Robotics and Innoviz Technologies – have exited via SPAC, and we expect more to follow. However, the recent boom in SPAC offerings is drawing additional scrutiny from regulators, which may put a damper on the current frenzy. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is concerned because a number of companies that went public...

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In the News: Hollywood Happy Ending to Coronavirus Horror?

Movie theaters are closed, but the spirit of Hollywood lives on in our over-optimistic approach to the coronavirus. This is not a movie, and COVID-19 was not made in Hollywood. It will not be defeated in 100 minutes by a raven-haired heroine and a gruff old scientist pulled out of retirement. This disease will be with us for the foreseeable future and, as Bill Gates and others have warned, the next pandemic is out there, waiting to pounce. Check out my thoughts on how the VC community can pull together, back the startups on the frontlines, and drive us to a ‘Hollywood happy ending’ together, in my latest Investors on the Frontlines LinkedIn Newsletter, which you can subscribe to receive regularly here. As I recently told Crowdfund Insider, the massive dislocation of work, home, and leisure created by the pandemic is ushering in a changed world. This new era needs a fresh generation of technological solutions and presents a major opportunity for venture investors to help innovators move fast and fix things. Read the full interview.  As an example...

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In the News: An alternative way to go public is heating up beyond recognition

Beyond Meat and Lemonade were the best performing IPO debuts of 2019 and 2020 thus far – both companies in which OurCrowd had the privilege to offer our investors before they went public. We are proud to be counted among those who have supported these impactful companies, and look forward to taking part in the journeys of more promising companies in the future. Speaking of going public – I predict that the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) market will roughly double this year and become an accepted alternative way for growth companies to go public by merging into the SPACs. As we see from Bill Ackman’s $4 billion SPAC, the market for these kind of structures has heated up beyond recognition. As stated in CNBC, “…SPACs are growing in popularity. So far this year they’ve have raised more than $12 billion, according to Dealogic, putting the dealflow on track to surpass 2019′s record total of $13.5 billion.” Watch more on the SPAC boom, on CNBC. Top Tech News Congrats to two OurCrowd portfolio companies on their raises which we...

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