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ETF News

ON THE MOVE-DeChellis joins Israeli venture firm as president

NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Anthony DeChellis, the former head of the private wealth businesses of Switzerland’s two biggest banks in the Americas, has been named president and a managing partner of OurCrowd, an Israel-based venture capital firm that raises money through a form of crowd-funding.

"It was started in one of the hottest geographies for tech start-ups by serial entrepreneurs," DeChellis said of the two-year-old company, which has helped fund 78 start-ups and has five current opportunities listed on its website, here

DeChellis, whose noncompete agreement following his 2013 departure from Credit Suisse Americas ended in October, said “qualified investors” in the U.S. can put as little as $10,000 into the companies that OurCrowd invests in.

“Most VC opportunities go to funds and very wealthy individual investors, but there are many high net worth investors who never get to see these investments,” he said.

OurCrowd, which takes its name from the title of a 1967 book about prominent German-Jewish families in New York City, reviews 250 or more deals monthly and picks three to five to invest in. Investors under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules must make at least $200,000 annually or have a net worth of $1 million excluding the value of their homes.

OurCrowd does not expect to lower its investor qualifications even after the SEC makes it easier for less wealthy people to invest in small businesses under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, DeChellis said.

The Israeli company was founded by American-born entrepreneur Jon Medved. Its chairman, Steven Blumgart, was the former codirector of Glencore International Plc’s aluminum division.

Like typical private equity and venture firms, OurCrowd charges 2 percent of investors’ money as an annual management fee and takes 20 percent of the profit above preset thresholds when investors cash out. OurCrowd invests 3 percent to 5 percent of its own money in every deal, DeChellis said.

The company last week led a $19.5 million funding round for asset-backed lender Borro and owned just over 7 percent of ReWalk Robotics, which went public in September.

DeChellis, who ran UBS Private Wealth Management in the United States before becoming chief executive of Credits Suisse Americas, will be based in New York. He said he expects to expand the funding platform to independent registered investment advisers whose clients are not comfortable giving money to venture capital funds without knowing where it will be invested. (Reporting by Jed Horowitz; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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