Tuesday, April 1, 2008

U.S. Army venture fund looks to Israel for water technologies

Christopher Fountas, a General Partner at Arsenal Venture Partners, was recently in Israel to examine the potential for investment in early-stage water technology companies.

Arsenal Venture Partners is a leading venture capital firm focused on the intersection of the commercial and defense markets. AVP manages an early-stage venture capital fund (OnPoint Technologies), and a seed-stage venture fund (MILCOM Technologies). It already has an extensive cleantech portfolio and co-invests with many of the leading venture capital funds and corporate investors in the sector.

According to a report in "Globes", Fountas was invited to Israel by Dr. Orna Berry, a venture partner at Gemini Israel Funds, as well as Chairperson of the Israel Venture Association and former Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade; and Assaf Barnea, CEO of the Kinrot Water Technology Incubator.

Fountas said, "We manage investments in technologies for the US Army to meet needs that arise in wartime, such as during operations in Iraq, and for the government and industrial markets. We've come to Israel with the understanding that it’s a global leader in water technologies."

Joining Fountas on his trip to Israel was Melissa Meeker, a governing board member of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWFD). According to Meeker, Florida is reviewing the establishment of a state venture capital fund for cleantech.

During their visit, Fountas and Meeker met with Mekorot - the Israel National Water Company; executives at venture capital funds including Gemini, Evergreen Venture Partners, and Israel Cleantech Ventures; and Booky Oren, President of the Arison Water Initiative.

Summarizing his visit to Israel, Fountas said, "The water technologies that generally interest us are those that are synergetic to US Army and federal government needs.... All the water sectors relevant to us for investment are found here, from water security through water treatment and management, to desalination."