Jonathan Medved is a serial entrepreneur and according to the Washington Post “One of Israel’s leading high tech venture capitalists”. NY Times Supplement “Israel at 60” named Medved as one of the “Top 10 most influential Americans who have impacted Israel” and he was also named as one of the “50 most influential Jews” by Jerusalem Post.
Medved currently is the founder and CEO of OurCrowd, the leading Global Equity Crowdfunding platform for accredited investors and angels. OurCrowd is “One of the largest crowdfunding organizations on the planet” according to Forbes, having raised over $300M for over 100 portfolio companies since its launch in February 2013. According to Bloomberg Businessweek “OurCrowd is hands down the most successful equity-crowdfunding platform in the world.”
We sat down with Jon for a quick chat when he was in Bangalore last month. Here are 4 questions we asked him:
Q. What are your Top 3 Observations from the Indian Startup Ecosystem?
1: India is definitely one of the Top 3 startup scenes in the world. The passion, the skill sets and the focus Indian startup founders have are simply amazing.
2: I’ve noticed that Indian startups are usually focused on an India-first model. I hope to see more willingness from Indian entrepreneurs to think bigger and look at a global market. If India is to mark their spot as a global leader, looking at a global market is key.
3: From my time here and the data I’ve run through, I am surprised by how little overseas investors are involved in the Indian startup ecosystem. I see a majority of the overseas investments coming in from Indians outside India and I look forward to seeing that expand to a larger demographic. India is hot and everyone should want a piece of it.
Q. Israel has a thriving culture of innovation. The country has seen several billion dollar exits. Entrepreneurship is booming in India but we are yet to see those Big exits. What is your advice to entrepreneurs and investors in India?
Big exits will happen here too, it’s just a matter of time. I’ve learnt that India is looking to transform to a product nation. Sharad Sharma said “We want to be for SaaS what Israel is for security” and I don’t see why not. But, it is important for the ecosystem to adopt that attitude and that mindset. I’m not talking about changing basic models, I’m talking about investing your startup energy into building world-changing products that a global market can take on. There are sectors like Artificial Intelligence(AI), Machine Learning and Virtual Reality that show good promise and potential; embrace it and fund it! As I mentioned earlier tapping into the global market is essential for the Indian ecosystem to grow and move to the next level.
Q. At LetsVenture, we have closed 100+ deals and are keen on bringing openness and ease to startup funding. How do you view LetsVenture and the role we play in boosting the startup ecosystem in India?
LetsVenture is an extremely compelling proposition for any angel investor looking to invest in India. The platform is easy to adopt and you’ve found a great way to put everything in one place. Also, I think it’s big that you’ve made the whole process digital. I see LetsVenture playing an important role in introducing a lot of newer angel investors to the startup ecosystem and investment environment. You’re providing an opportunity to learn from the more experienced angels who are already on the platform, you’re giving investors access to important data/trends and importantly, it’s being done in a space with great deal flow.
Q. Given that the Indian Angel ecosystem is still quite young, what are your thoughts on how Angel Investors in India should approach startups and improve the quality of deal flow?
I would give primary importance to understanding Angel Investment. Investors across the board need to get up to speed on Angel Investing; how it works and what its means. There is a lot that goes into identifying what to look for in a startup, how to get involved with one and how to grow a company. Put in the time, learn from experiences of other investors. I’ve learnt that while it is impossible to avoid the learning curve that comes with picking up a new skillset, there is no reason to repeat old mistakes. Angel investing has recently gained prominence so let’s keep in mind the book hasn’t been written yet. We have the opportunity to create new models, new approaches and new ways to involve more people and networks in this game. So let’s chase that, let’s define funding 2.0.
Stay tuned for more LetsVenture Q&A sessions with prominent figures from the global investment arena.