Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cleantech attracts foreign investment

"From cutting-edge geothermal power deep underground to wind turbines and solar panels capturing energy from the sky above, foreign investors are pouring money into Israel's growing clean tech sector."

This is the opening paragraph in an article recently published by the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.

The article provides an overview of Israel's cleantech sector and focuses on the importance of the United States, both as an export market for clean technologies and a source of funds for cleantech VCs and startups.

It includes quotes from Michael Granoff, President of NY-based Maniv Energy Capital and an investor in Project Better Place; David Rosenblatt, Vice Chairman of the Arava Power Company; Glen Schwaber, Partner at Israel Cleantech Ventures; Stacy Schusterman, CEO of the Samson Investment Co. and a major Jewish philanthropist; Assaf Barnea, CEO of the Kinrot Water Technology Incubator; and Jonathan Shapira, the author of this blog.

If you want to meet Assaf Barnea and learn more about water technologies in Israel, please sign up for the Cleantech Israel business network and attend our next event on July 29.

Monday, July 21, 2008

GreenRoad raises $17.5 million in Series C funding

GreenRoad Technologies, a leader in driver safety technologies, today announced that Amadeus Capital Partners, a European technology investor, has joined Virgin Green Fund, Benchmark Capital, and Balderton Capital in providing C round financing of $17.5 million. The funding will be used to expand the company’s R&D, sales and marketing efforts. Richard Anton, Amadeus Partner, becomes the newest member of GreenRoad’s Board of Directors.

GreenRoad is headquartered in Silicon Valley and London, but its R&D center is in Or Yehuda, Israel. The company was founded by CTO Ofer Raz and Senior VP Hod Fleishman.

GreenRoad Safety Center, the company’s flagship product, addresses two important issues that are a major contributor to the overall cost of doing business these days - vehicle crashes and fuel economy. Aggressive driving behavior contributes to 95% of road accidents and leads to injuries and fatalities. Unsafe drivers also waste fuel and increase carbon emissions, as aggressively-driven vehicles burn 10-15% more fuel.

For more information about GreenRoad's technology and services, check out the company's web site.

The company is partnering with commercial fleets, insurance companies, and local governments in the US, EU and Israel, where the combined estimated market potential exceeds 77 million vehicles. Customers already include Amdocs, T-Mobile, and the UK Ministry of Defence.

Benchmark Capital and Balderton Capital have been investors in GreenRoad since 2006. Virgin Green Fund joined in January 2008.

Advising Amadeus on the funding was Israeli law firm Meitar Liquornik Geva & Leshem Brandwein. GreenRoad was advised by Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Halevy, Greenberg & Co.

Related Posts:

Traffilog develops solution to improve fuel efficiency

Whitewater raises $7.1m from Leon Recanati

Whitewater, a water technology investment company owned by Ori Yogev and Hana Gertler, announced today that it will raise NIS 24m ($7.1m) from Gmul Investment Co. Gmul is controlled by Leon Recanati, a leading Israeli investor.

The investment is for 18.2% of Whitewater, at a company value of NIS 108 million ($40 million).

The money to be invested in Whitewater will be used to further the company's strategy to increase its holdings in a number of its Israeli subsidiaries: Galcon, which specializes in computerized irrigation systems; Checklight, which specializes in real-time water quality monitoring; and Whitewater Well, which specializes in water-drilling technology.

Whitewater also intends to invest in water technology companies in North America and Europe with significant growth potential.

Commenting on the investment, Ori Yogev told "Globes" that "Gmul has an asset that we're very interested in: a stake in the Nahariya sewage treatment plant, which is a very modern facility. It's very important for us to be able to use this facility as beta site for our sewage treatment technologies. This part of the deal isn't final, however."

As part of the deal, Whitewater has undertaken to acquire 23% of TGA Western Galilee Infrastructures LP, in which Gmul owns 44.9%, for NIS 10 million. TGA owns the Nahariya sewage treatment plant.

Yogev notes, "The growing global water crisis has generated unprecedented demand for innovative Israeli water technologies. The present investment will speed up the company's penetration into the North American and European markets, and will enable us to exploit potential opportunities in the global water technology market."

Gmul Investment's Chairman, Moddi Keret, said: "The water technology field is benefiting presently from huge investments, and is expected to become one of the growth forces in the world's economy."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Better Place electric cars may be produced in Israel

Gabriel Mimon, the director general of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, reportedly plans to meet with Shai Agassi to discuss the possibility of manufacturing electric cars in Israel. In exchange for manufacturing the electric cars in Israel, Agassi's company, Project Better Place, could receive hundreds of millions of shekels in government grants.

The scheduled meeting with Mimon will follow what is described,
according to a report in Ha'aretz, as a "private" meeting between Agassi and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai.

During the meeting, Agassi noted that research and development for the electric cars will take place in Israel whereas production will likely be outsourced to another country. He said that a number of countries are interested in hosting the production and have offered benefits including investment grants.

But Yishai emphasized the importance of production remaining in Israel, and the two discussed the benefits the government will be asked to provide to make such production feasible.

In January 2008, Better Place announced a memorandum of understanding with Renault-Nissan to build a nationwide electric vehicle recharge grid in Israel. In March, the company declared the Israel would be its primary R&D center.

Related posts:

Project Better Place presents prototype car in Tel Aviv

Project Better Place declares Israel as primary R&D center

Israel set to adopt electric cars produced by Renault-Nissan and Project Better Place

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gaon Agro buys Aqua Control Systems

Gaon Agro Industries Ltd. has acquired half of Aqua Control Systems for NIS 26 million from its chairman David Shani, according to a report in "Globes". The payment could increase by up to an additional NIS 10 million depending on Aqua's financial results in 2009-10.

As part of the deal, Motech Water Management Ltd., also owned by Shani, will be merged into Aqua Control Systems as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Aqua Control Systems specializes in high performance irrigation control and communication systems, supplying computerized irrigation control systems for water supply projects in rural areas. The company has been a strategic partner of Motorola Inc. for 18 years, selling its IRRInet irrigation control and communication system under a non-exclusive license.

Gaon Agro states that Aqua Control Systems posted a net profit of NIS 1.5 million on NIS 42.9 million revenue in 2007, compared with a net profit of NIS 1.4 million on NIS 40.6 million revenue in 2006.

Motech Water Management was founded in 2006. It represents Motorola in 14 countries, including Australia, France, Italy, and Spain. Gaon Agro disclosed no financial details about this company.

Gaon Agro also manages the AquAgro Fund, a venture capital fund focused on Israeli water, agriculture and clean technologies. AquAgro has already invested in three companies: Evogene, Desalitech (formerly Advanced Desalination Technologies), and Computerized Electricity Systems.

Related posts:

Computerized Electricity Systems raises $3.75m from AquAgro Fund

AquAgro Fund announces launch of Aqua Lab for early stage investments

Advanced Desalination Technologies raises $4m from AquAgro Fund

Monday, July 7, 2008

Traffilog develops solution to improve fuel efficiency

Traffilog, an Israeli start-up based in Rosh Ha'ayin, is developing a web-based solution to better administer fleets of cars and trucks. The company was recently profiled in articles in the Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz.

Traffilog's system features GPS and various sensors that interact with the vehicle's systems and monitor driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking, turns, engine revolutions per minute and oil pressure. The information is then reported back to a central server, and a fleet manager can determine whether vehicles are being driven safely and efficiently .

The company's "black boxes" were installed in 500 cars used by the Israel Defense Forces over the last 18 months. In response, drivers moderated their driving style and the result was an average saving of 14% in fuel consumption (280,000 liters of gas). Traffilog's system will now be installed in thousands more IDF vehicles in the coming months.

GreenRoad Technologies, another Israeli company developing a system to reduce accidents and improve fuel efficiency, raised $14.5 million from Benchmark Capital and Virgin Green Fund back in January 2008.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Applied Materials Israel to install solar panels

Applied Materials Israel is in the advanced stages of negotiating an NIS 8.5 million deal with Millenium Electric to install solar panels.

Ha'aretz reports that
the solar panels, which will produce 300-350 kilowatts of electricity per hour, will be installed on the rooftops of the company's three buildings, located at the Rehovot Science Park. The panels are expected to provide the company headquarters' electricity needs, with any surplus sold to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC).

Millenium Electric has installed panels producing about 17 megawatts per hour all over the world. In Israel, the company has supplied panels to the Trans-Israel Highway, the Defense Ministry and the Klil settlement in the western Galilee.

Israel's incentive plan aimed at encouraging the use of photovoltaic (PV) technology for private consumption came into effect on July 1st. According to the plan, all excess electricity produced by private households and industry using PV panels may be sold to the IEC at NIS 2.01 per kilowatt, compared to NIS 0.48 for electricity sold to consumers by the Electric Corporation.

Applied Materials Israel was established in 1997, and employs about 1,000 people, most of whom work at its research and development facility in Rehovot.