Monday, October 29, 2007

Terra VP raises $15 million, makes first investments

Terra Venture Partners, a venture capital fund focused on seed and early-stage cleantech companies in Israel, has reportedly raised $15 million and made its first two investments.

The fund completed a seed-stage investment in IQWind Ltd., a company that is developing an innovative gearbox that will improve the efficiency of wind turbines. Terra has also invested in Phoebus Energy Ltd., which is developing a system to decrease water heating expenses for large facilities, such as hospitals, hotels, pools, etc. Both IQWind and Phoebus were founded in August, 2007.

Terra Venture Partners was founded in May 2006 by Harold Wiener, an immigrant from Uruguay, and Astorre Modena, an immigrant from Italy. They hope to ultimately raise $50 million and invest in up to 20 companies.

Greylock, Israel Cleantech establish joint venture

Greylock Partners and Israel Cleantech Ventures are reportedly establishing a platform to invest in the cleantech industry. The new venture, called CleanStart, will focus on investment in early-stage start-ups and ideas developed within Israeli academia, covering a range of sectors including clean energy, water technologies, and energy effiency.

In 2006, Greylock Partners, a leading U.S.-based venture capital fund, launched Greylock Israel, a separate $150M fund dedicated to investing in early-stage Israeli technology companies.

Israel Cleantech Ventures focuses exclusively on investments in Israel-related companies developing technologies in renewable and alternative energy, water resource and waste water treatment, “smart-grid” and process efficiency technologies, pollution monitoring and mitigation and “green” agriculture. It is raising a $60 million fund and has already invested in lighting solutions company Metrolight Ltd. According to "Globes", the fund is due to make three further investments in the coming weeks.

WATEC, CheckLight, WaterSheer

As the Israeli cleantech industry prepares for WATEC Israel 2007 -- the International Water Technologies and Environmental Control Exhibition and Conference -- "Globes" is reporting on two new devlopments in the water sector.

Whitewater Security, a subsidiary of the Whitewater Technology Group, is in advanced negotiations to invest $2.5 million in water security start-up CheckLight Ltd. Checklight, founded Shimon Ulitzur, a professor of microbiology at the Technion, has developed technology that uses light-emitting bacteria to identify pollutants in water in real time. Whitewater chairman Ori Yogev wants his company to be the global leader in water security in the next 3-5 years. (Full article)

WaterSheer Ltd., another water technology start-up, is reportedly in talks to bring in a strategic partner at a company value of $10-15 million. The company, which creates a range of water purification products that convert unsafe water into drinking water. Potential partners include an international company with global marketing operations primarily in third world countries, and international venture capital funds that specialize in consumer products.

For more information on WaterSheer and its products, see "Israeli system turns contaminated water into drinking water - instantly."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Israeli VCs: cleantech expectations remain high

The Israel VC Indicator survey released this week says that, for the third quarter in a row, cleantech remains the favored sector for increased investment in Israel.

According to the survey (see PDF), published by Deloitte Brightman Almagor, expectations of increased cleantech transactions are high, but actual deals remain scarce. VCs point to a lack of cleantech investment knowledge and a lack of talented cleantech entrepreneurs as the top impediments to cleantech success in Israel.

Power Electronics featured in Ha'aretz

Power Electronics Systems (PES), a leading provider of energy-efficiency solutions, is profiled this week in Ha'aretz. (See here.)

PES has developed a range of products that improve energy-efficiency for lighting, HVAC and electric motor applications. For example, its Lighting Energy Controller (LEC) systems reduce energy consumption from lightbulbs by 20-30% and have been adopted by customers such as IBM, Tesco, and municipal governments throughout Israel.

Founder and Chairman Shimon Limor estimates that if Israel were to adopt his company's technology on a national level, it "could save NIS 2.8 billion in superfluous spending on electricity and reduce air pollution by 2.6 million tons of coal."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Australian water delegation visits Israel

Three Australian state ministers and various business leaders will visit Israel next week to explore water and conservation business opportunities. The group will meet with Israeli political, business and technology leaders and attend the WATEC Israel 2007 conference on water and environmental technologies.

Australia is undergoing a severe drought and has implemented water restrictions. According to the delegation’s leader, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Chairman Leon Kempler, “Australia and Israel share the unfortunate fate of having significant challenges to their water supplies. Israel has many companies that provide outstanding technology and solutions to water scarcity problems and this business delegation, the most senior ever to visit Israel, is keen to listen, learn and reach agreements.”

According to a lengthy article in the New York Times Magazine, experts predict that the American West will also face severe water shortages in the coming decades. Perhaps Israeli companies, which are leaders in the global water industry, will be able to provide solutions to this problem as well.

UK group seeks Israeli cleantech investments

Globes reports that Vincent Tchenguiz, chairman of British trust fund manager Consensus Business Group, is seeking cleantech investment opportunities in Israel.

Consensus has a $500 million technology investment portfolio that targets renewable energy companies. Tchenguiz has reportedly said that he wants to become "the world's first cleantech billionaire."

Globes also reports that during a visit to Israel last week, Tchenguiz met Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, and cleantech entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Overview of cleantech venture market in Israel

Meir Ukeles of Israel Cleantech Ventures recently provided an update on the cleantech sector in Israel, published on the "Cleantech Investing" blog.

Ukeles notes a growing trend of Israeli "serial entrepreneurs" who are launching their newest companies in the cleantech sector. He points out that Israel has been especially successful in producing companies that specialize in "a broad spectrum of water efficiency, quality and treatment technologies, power electronics and energy storage, as well as some aspects of solar energy."

He concludes, however, that "the simple truth is that Israel’s most important resource is its entrepreneurs – a seemingly inexhaustible supply of talented business people and technologists who excel at looking beyond traditional ways of solving market problems and inefficiencies. That, coupled with the truly colossal demand for technologies to address the world’s insatiable need for clean, accessible energy, water and air, is what is already putting Israel on the map as a global cleantech player."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ormat Technologies to raise funds in secondary offering

Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORA), a leading geothermal power company, has filed a prospectus with the SEC to raise $130-$140 million in a public offering of three million shares.

Listed on the NYSE and headquartered in Nevada, Ormat Technologies is a subsidiary of Ormat Industries (TASE: ORMT), which in recent weeks has been rumored to be an acquisition target of Goldman Sachs, Africa-Israel, and Apax Partners.

Ormat Technologies will use proceeds from the sale to fund possible acquisitions and the construction of additional geothermal and Recovered Energy Generation (REG) power plants.

Monday, October 22, 2007

AqWise founders start new cleantech venture

The entrepreneurial team behind AqWise Water Technologies Ltd., which was selected by Clean Edge as one of the ten most promising companies in water filtration, is setting up a new venture which will focus on the production of electricity and fuel from heavy duty industrial waste.

Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter, the founders of this new venture, called EMEFCY Bioenergy Systems, explain their technology in an interview published in Globes. Levy is currently a venture partner at Israel Cleantech Ventures.

Reflective Mirrors Seen Raising Solar Potential

A team of researchers at Israel's Ben Gurion University may have discovered a way to make solar energy more competitive using a combination of reflective dishes and an alternative to silicon, according to reports in Reuters and Ha'aretz.

David Faiman, a physics professor and expert on solar energy, has designed a reflector made of mirrors that collects and intensifies sunlight a thousand times over. Faiman says he is collaborating with an Israeli start-up company, ZenithSolar, to create a home solar energy system that uses a 10 square metre (107.6 sq ft) reflector dish.

Faiman would not discuss details of the ZenithSolar deal but said a prototype already existed and could be ready by the end of 2008. ZenithSolar would not comment on the project.

Little information is available online about ZenithSolar. Their founder and CEO, Roy Segev, apparently has a background in venture capital and high-tech.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

EER Raises Cash

Environmental Energy Resources, Ltd. (EER), an environmentally-friendly waste management company, raised $3.5 million in a private placement that values the company at $130 million.

EER is developing a plasma-based thermal technology for treatment of municipal solid waste, low-level radioactive waste, and biomedical waste. The only end-products of the process are gas that can be used in power plants and an inert slag that can be used in the construction industry. It recently constructed a technology demonstration facility near Haifa.

Based in Ramat Gan, EER is controlled by Urdan Industries Ltd. and Shrem, Fudim, Kelder & Co. Ltd. (SFK)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Jennifer Fonstad -- DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures

Jennifer Fonstad, a managing director at Draper Fischer Jurvetson and DFJ's representative to the joint investment committee recently established with Tamir Fishman Ventures, discusses cleantech in a lengthy interview with Globes.

Fonstad, recently featured in an article on biofuels that appeared in the Venture Capital Journal, is enthusiastic about cleantech investment opportunities in Israel. She reports that DFJ portfolio company BrightSource Energy acquired Luz II, a Jerusalem-based developer of utility-scale solar power plants. GreenFuel Technologies, another DJF portfolio company, is working in Israel to develop a biofuel system. Fonstad singled out clean water technologies as an example of a sector where Israel is a global leader.

Kinrot Incubator

Kinrot, an incubator focused on water technologies, has named Assaf Barnea as its new CEO according to a Globes report. Barnea recently served as VP of Business Development at the Mekorot National Water Company and oversaw the establishment of Mekorot's own incubator -- the WaTech Entrepreneurship and Partnership Center for Water Technologies.

Founded in 1993 as part of the Israeli technological incubators program, Kinrot was privatized last year. Based in the Jordan Valley, it has several portfolio companies that operate in the water sector.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Air pollution reducer Lextran Ltd. recently raised $1.2 million in additional funds. A subsidiary of Ludan Engineer Co. Ltd. and based in Katzrin, Lextran is developing a low-operational cost installation for reducing emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide by power stations. According to Globes, a unit was installed at a 25-megawatt power station in Ishi, Romania, earlier this month.

Ludan Engineering (TASE: LUDN) has an Environmental Group focused on providing solutions to wastewater and air pollution problems.

DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures

Draper Fisher Jurvetson ("DJF"), a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, has joined forces with Israeli VC Tamir Fishman Ventures. "DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures" will serve as DFJ's exclusive partner in Israel. (Here's their statement.)

Tamir Fishman has focused on early-stage communications, IT and life sciences companies. DFJ, however, has a large portfolio of almost twenty clean technology companies in the U.S. It will be interesting to see whether the new partnership will now invest in Israeli clean technology companies.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Evergreen Venture Partners, based in Tel Aviv, has completed the raising of $200 for its fifth fund. As reported in Globes, managing partner Erez Shachar commented that the firm is constantly examining new fields. "We're studying cleantech, and we're taking it seriously."