Happy holidays and welcome to OurCrowd’s ‘What We’re Investing In’ series. To date, OurCrowd and our network of angel investors have invested over $80M in 56 startup companies. Aside from these exciting investment opportunities, we are also launching a series of educational webinars with leading tech industry experts to further dissect the sectors that we are investing in. Stay tuned and visit www.ourcrowd.com for more information.
Borro – Secure asset backed loans
The 2008 financial crisis brought to light the desperate need for reform in the traditional yet antiquated banking and lending systems. In just six short years, companies like Lending Club and Prosper managed to capitalize on the opportunity and broker over $5B in unsecured, peer-to-peer loans.
Borro, a UK-based lending platform takes a novel, more secure approach to online lending. Taking a loan from Borro requires pledging a physical asset, which is appraised and held in a warehouse for the term of the loan. Asset backed lending mitigates risk for the lender and allows asset rich individuals to borrow money without actually selling any of their assets.
Borro has recently experienced substantial financial traction and was ranked #8 on KPMG’s list of the top 50 leading global FinTech innovators.
OurCrowd is joined by other significant institutional investors in this round of investment in Borro.
Social Bicycles – Turnkey bike share platform
The sharing economy is one of the fastest growing segments in tech today. Popularized by companies like Uber and Zipcar, people are always looking for faster, cheaper ways to make their daily commute that much smoother.
Recently, there has been a massive movement towards commuting on bicycles to combat rising gas prices and time-consuming traffic jams. It is estimated that by 2016, there will be over 1.2 million bikes deployed through bike share platforms worldwide.
Social Bicycles, a turnkey ‘smart-bike’ system, created a cheaper, more profitable platform for bike share networks. By placing all of the technology on the back of the actual bike, Social Bicycles avoids the costly infrastructure setup that other bike share platforms are burdened with. Addressing a $1B global market, Social Bicycles has plans to deploy their technology in large cities, universities and hotels.
VocalZoom – Accurate voice recognition in any environment
Walk down the street today and you’ll see people talking to their phones. The multi-billion dollar voice recognition market went mainstream big time with Apple’s Siri and Google’s Voice Search. However, one fundamental problem with all of these technologies is that they have a hard time deciphering speech out of the cacophony of everyday life.
VocalZoom has created a proprietary patented software to address this major pain point in the voice recognition market. Using acoustic and optical sensors, VocalZoom’s technology is able to monitor vibrations from the throat and face of the speaker, filtering out any external signals usually picked up by traditional microphones. VocalZoom’s product can be used in cellphones, personal headsets and automotive car kits to provide clear speech recognition despite any background noise.
OurCrowd is joined by 3M New Ventures, the $80B global conglomerate, and other significant institutional investors in this round of investment in VocalZoom.
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