Harvesting Agritech Investment Opportunities

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The rapidly expanding world population, expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, together with dwindling resources, make technology innovation to improve agricultural output not just a fascinating and profitable arena, but a real need for humanity’s survival. Israeli companies are developing new technologies in diverse fields, from breeding new crop varieties, to sustainable crop-protection, and on to irrigation technologies, precision agriculture and even energy production from second generation agriculture.

“There is often a strong connection between water and agriculture technologies,” explains Oded Distel, head of Israel NewTech. “Although in the past our program has focused on water and renewable energy, we are getting more and more involved in Agritech, and there are a number of interesting Israeli companies developing technologies which fall into both areas.”

Israel is considered a world leader in water technologies, with a specialization in water for agriculture. One of the most famous examples is drip irrigation, which was invented in Israel in the 1960′s and is considered the most prevalent irrigation technology in the world today, with Netafim the leading supplier. A number of Israeli success stories in Agritech highlight the connection between water and agriculture technologies. Israel’s NaanDan Jain Irrigation is the leading global provider of tailor-made irrigation solutions. Active in over 100 countries, and bringing over 70 years of experience, the company offers a wide range of technologies that deliver increased productivity and drive higher crop yields. An additional success story is Plastro, active in the dynamic irrigation market, which was acquired by John Deere Water.

Another example is Kaiima, a next-generation seed and breeding-technology company, which develops NON-GMO crops with dramatically improved productivity and improved land and water-use efficiencies. Kaiima received a second round of investment in 2011 totaling over $20, including from very prestigious investment group Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the first time KPCB decided to invest in an Israeli company.

In order to bring new projects and companies off the ground, of course investment is needed. The first Agrivest Summit is scheduled for May 14th, right before the beginning of Agritech Israel 2012. “The Agrivest model is based on the successful ‘Cleanvest Summit‘ that we hosted this past November right before the WATEC event,” explains Adi Yefet Beeri of Israel NewTech. “We expect 100-150 investors from around the world to attend. 14-16 Israeli start-ups will have 6 minutes each to present their case, and in addition the event will include presentations by leading Agritech figures, as well as a panel hosted by Oded Distel, on Agritech investment opportunities.” Feedback on the Cleanvest WATEC event was very positive, with clear indications that fruitful connections between international investors and Israeli start-ups were forged, and Yefet Beeri expects Agrivest to also yield positive leads.

Agrivest Summit 2012 is being organized by Israel NewTech, the Investment Promotion Center, Mofet Venture Accelerator in association with Agritech 2012. The event will take place at Mikve Israel, Israel’s first agricultural school.

For more information about the Agrivest Summit click here.

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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