Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Israel Cleantech buys 11% of AqWise

"Globes" reports that Israel Cleantech Ventures has acquired an 11% stake in sewage treatment solutions developer AqWise - Wise Water Technologies Ltd. from its founders, Ronen Shechter and Eytan Levy, in a secondary transaction in a deal that valued the company at $10 million.

AqWise CEO Elad Frenkel said, "This investment means that three institutional investors now stand behind the company: AHMSA, Elron, and Israel Cleantech." Mexican mining conglomerate Altos Hornos de Mexico SA de CV, owns 55% of AqWise, Elron Electronic Industries Ltd. owns 34%, and Israel Cleantech now owns 11%.

Globes says that this will not be Israel Cleantech's final investment in AqWise, which is in the late stages of an internal financial financing round amounting to a few million dollars from its current investors. The company is also close to signing contracts worth several million dollars with customers in Israel, Europe, the US, and Latin America.

"Globes": Do you plan to raise capital from external sources?

Frenkel: "Elron is a strategic investor, not merely a financial one. Israel Cleantech and AHMSA are also both strategic investors. That's why we don’t need outside money right now. They want to stand behind the company and make it succeed."

AqWise was founded in 2000. It specializes in the upgrading of wastewater treatment plants through the Attached Growth Airlift Reactor (AGAR) process, a method for biologically increasing water treatment capacity using biofilm carriers. The company posted a fourth quarter loss after posting profits in the preceding quarters, but the company has installed dozens of commercial units around the world, and its global target market is estimated at more than a $1 billion a year, and it is growing.

In 2007, AqWise was named in "The Cleantech Revolution" as one of the top 10 companies to watch in the field of water filtration

Ronen Shechter and Eytan Levy recently founded a new microbial fuel cell company, EMEFCY Bioenergy Systems, which will focus on the production of electricity and fuel from heavy duty industrial waste. Levy is also a venture partner at Israel Cleantech Ventures.