Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Israeli agritech fund established

"Globes" reports that a new agritech fund, the Central Arava Fund, established with the support of Australian Jewish investors, will begin operating in April 2008. The new fund aims to establish agrotech and agrobiotech companies in the Arava region of the Negev. A second goal is to create high-tech job opportunities for residents of the Arava after their studies.

The Central Arava Fund expects to raise an initial $5-8 million, and raise an additional $40 million in the second stage. The bulk of the financing will come from Australian Jews. Arava residents and companies will be able to invest in the fund with minimum investments of $25,000.

Central Arava Fund's managers will be Eliezer Manor and Gil Lissai. Manor, a physicist, is a veteran venture capitalist, and founder of the Israel Venture Association. Lissai has experience in agriculture. He has worked with farms in both the Arava and in other countries and advised high-tech ventures and exporters.

The fund's mangers and investors discuss their plans in more detail in this YouTube video. The fund is apparently considering investing in biofuels and other alternative energy technologies related to agriculture.