Monday, February 2, 2009

Bronfman and Gillerman reexamine cleantech-focused Israel Opportunity Fund

The global financial crisis is affecting the Israel Opportunity Fund, the cleantech-focused VC fund founded last year by Canadian-American businessman Matthew Bronfman and former Israel Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman. The fund was established last fall to invest in Israel-related renewable energy and water technology companies.

The plan was to raise $100 million, with Bronfman Fisher Investment Ltd. committed to invest about 20% of the sum raised. However, today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Gillerman told Globes, "We are reexamining both the size of the investment and the size of the fund."

Gillerman added. "The timing of our fund was undoubtedly unique. We founded it when it was already clear that the economic world was not what it was. What wasn't clear was the scale of its severity. The first round of fund raising from investors we carried out in London during one of the stormiest weeks of the global economy the week that Lehman Bros. collapsed."

Globes: Matthew Bronfman himself is not in the best of financial situations today?

Gillerman: "I rely on the power, stability, and strength of him and his family.

The money designated for the fund is from him or his family?

"Even I don't know."

How much money do you already have at your disposal to invest?

"I don't want to go into details."

You recently said that there has been a delay but will you complete fund raising by the end of 2009?

"As I have already said, we are reexamining the size of the investment and the size of the fund."

Have you implemented any investments yet?

"No. We have very many proposals both from large bodies and banks who have suggested companies that we should buy, sometimes as part of their activities as creditors."

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Bronfman and Gillerman set up new cleantech fund