This past week, it was announced that Israel has established diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a ground-breaking shift in foreign relations for a volatile region.
The deal was announced by President Trump, Israel, and the UAE that the countries have agreed to exchange ambassadors, enhance security and commercial ties, and allow direct flights. The new agreement means that the UAE would become the third Arab country to have active diplomatic relations with Israel and is the first such agreement between Israel and a major Arab country since Jordan established a relationship in 1994. The countries have committed to the exchange of embassies and ambassadors, as well as a range of cooperation in various areas such as trade, security, communications, and more.
OurCrowd, long an advocate of Israel’s innovation nation status as well as a proponent of the benefits of regional entrepreneurship, quickly embraced the announcement seeing new opportunities and possible collaborations between the two sides. The Emirates is a federation of seven different individual Emirates, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and is a region that has sought to boost entrepreneurship as well as being active in the hot Fintech sector.
OurCrowd founder and CEO Jon Medved welcomed the news in a series of tweets stating:
“This is a historic moment. I have been to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the last couple of years and you could tell this was coming. OurCrowd will be taking the lead in connecting the thriving ecosystems and investor communities of Israel and the UAE for the benefit & prosperity of all.”
Speaking with Calcalist, Medved predicted “dozens” of interactions within the coming months and perhaps “100s” within the next year.
“We have for years now had investment interactions with business people all over the Arab world, but have done them in a rather modest and quiet manner. At my prior company vringo, my team and I were quite active in selling our products to the Gulf, so much so that when vringo went public in 2010 these ties were detailed in our documents to the SEC, which did not in anyway hamper our business relations in the region. Now with formal normalization, these interactions will be open to the public and be done within a simpler travel and business regime. It will without a doubt encourage the growth of business ties that will become much more significant.”
OurCrowd has emerged as a prominent catalyst for innovation in Israel. While the crowdfunding platform provides financing to early-stage firms globally, the bulk of its portfolio companies are Israel based. The sheer proximity between Israel and the Emirates may help foster a robust collaboration ecosystem that is mutually beneficial to both sides of the equation.
The apparent thaw between the Arab countries and Israel may be followed by similar arrangements with other middle eastern countries. Referencing Trump administration officials, WaPo said that other Persian Gulf states may follow UAE’s lead pointing specifically at Bahrain and Oman.
While some reports regarding the Israel-UAE agreement were less sanguine, the breakthrough agreement has been widely lauded and OurCrowd, one of the largest investment crowdfunding platforms in the world with over $1.5 billion in capital commitments as well as over 35 exits, is well-positioned to be a positive part of this emerging relationships.
Medved said the relationship will take some time but added:
“The ability to do business in startup innovation in the areas of healthcare, cybersecurity, education and agtech with our partners in the Gulf is going to be transformative. OurCrowd looks forward to leading the way as this historic era dawns.”