OurCrowd to Expand into Abu Dhabi with Global AI Research and Innovation Center
In recent news, OurCrowd, a well-known leading investment firm in the State of Israel, has announced that it will be opening up its very own global artificial intelligence (AI) innovation center, located in the capital city of United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi. The most active investor in the Jewish state further revealed that the center will become operational later in the year and will be offering AI-based research, which is based on finance, as one of its services. OurCrowd will be deemed the center as its internal startup and will be its own first client. While speaking during Fintech Week, Sabah al-Binali talked about how the aim of the center is to grow its customer base accordingly after taking itself on as a client.
He is the executive head of OurCrowd Arabia and a partner at the company as well. Just recently, OurCrowd was granted a license to begin operating in the UAE in November of 2021. This made it the first-ever venture capital firm of the Jewish state to receive approval from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). The AGDM is the international financial center located in UAE’s capital. Al-Binali further added that an additional function of the global AI innovation center will be to provide advanced technical services to its clients.
Moreover, he believes that this could prove to be a model for additional future projects in other industries, like agtech (agricultural technology) and MedTech (medical technology). He further added that OurCrowd has previously worked with no less than six of its portfolio firms in order to start off with commercial activity in the capital city of UAE. This includes an Israel-based medical technology company, which is soon going to be launching clinical trials, as well as a potential manufacturing line. Al-Binali, however, did not name any companies as contracts have not yet been finalized. Just last month, OurCrowd portfolio firm, ThetaRay, entered into an agreement to offer its services to the oldest private banking institutions in the UAE, namely Mashreq Bank PSC.
ThetaRay develops fintech software, which mimics the intuitive decision-making of humans in order to check for financial fraud. Al-Binali went on to hail the contract, saying that it will be a steppingstone to provide security to additional large banks in the capital city, as well as the region as a whole. Just a year and a half ago, the Abraham Accords were signed, brokered by the US. They normalized ties between UAE and Israel, soon followed by Sudan, Morocco, and Bahrain. Al-Binali talked about how there has been much hope for successful and flourishing relations between the two countries.
However, he added that expectations, where business is concerned, may have been a little too optimistic. In his words, the flow of investments has not yet materialized. He went on to say that startups and companies both in the UAE and Israel are significantly active in various international markets. Thus, they require time to gain and understanding of new ones.