UAE-Israel private sector investment to exceed $10bln

The governments of the UAE, Israel and the US are leading the way by setting up a joint $3bln investment fund headquartered in Jerusalem

  
Emirati and Israeli flags fly upon the arrival of Israeli and U.S. delegates at Abu Dhabi International Airport, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020.

Emirati and Israeli flags fly upon the arrival of Israeli and U.S. delegates at Abu Dhabi International Airport, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020.

REUTERS/Christopher Pike

UAE - Bilateral investment between the UAE and Israel has the potential to reach $10 billion within a short time span with the private sectors on both sides getting very active, a leading Israeli investor said.

Jon Medved, CEO of Israel’s investment platform OurCrowd, said in an interview that the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel following the signing of the peace agreement, known as Abraham Accord, would be “an unbelievable game-changer” in the two-way investment sphere.

At present, the governments of the UAE, Israel and the US are leading the way by setting up a joint $3 billion investment fund headquartered in Jerusalem as part of efforts to normalise relations and promote regional economic development.

“But the real activity is happening in the private sector as there is a lot of enthusiasm on both sides. I dare say over $10 bilateral of bilateral investment action will be happening both ways,” Medved, one of Israel’s most active venture capital investors, told CNBC.

“The UAE investors coming into the Israeli tech market are among the most sophisticated in the world, likewise hi-tech Israeli investors going to the Emirates. It will result in building a Middle East tech hub. It has been a long-standing dream and it is happening now,” said Medved.

He said both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are “shining beacons of opportunity. There will be no better testbed for Israeli technology than cities in the UAE.” The broad partnerships will not stop at tech but also have positive ramifications in education, tourism, energy and security.

Medved’s OurCrowd, an equity crowdfunding platform with more than 8,000 investors, manages more than $1.5 billion in committed funds. It recently announced a partnership with the UAE firm Phoenix to ramp up bilateral business and tech ties.

As per the memorandum of understanding, Phoenix, headed by Abdullah S. Al Naboodah, chairman of Al Naboodah Investments, will serve as an investment platform for Gulf-based individuals and family offices seeking opportunities to invest in the Israeli tech ecosystem. It marked the first announced alliance between a top-ranking UAE corporation and a major Israeli venture firm.

The UAE group will serve as a bridge between OurCrowd and Gulf-based startups with the aim of raising investment through OurCrowd’s platform and will assist Israel-based startups with potential partners in the Gulf region.

OurCrowd will identify and support UAE-based startups seeking growth and development in Israel, and leverage its portfolio to enhance business development for UAE startups seeking to collaborate on innovative solutions.

OurCrowd has appointed Dr Sabah Al Binali, a financial services executive, as a venture partner and head of the Gulf region for the Israeli firm.

“OurCrowd’s global platform provides a perfect meeting point for startups, entrepreneurs and investors from the vibrant tech ecosystems in Israel and the UAE,” Dr Al Binali said in a statement.

 

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