Israeli cleantech companies prove natural fit in California

The American economy has been flipped on its head, yet companies, authorities and investors in California know that the current financial woes can’t stop the advancement of clean technology. The future of the world depends on it. And Israel, they …

The American economy has been flipped on its head, yet companies, authorities and investors in California know that the current financial woes can’t stop the advancement of clean technology. The future of the world depends on it. And Israel, they realize, may be a part of the solution.

 

As a recognized leader in the industry, California’s green business movers and shakers invited a dozen of Israel’s most promising clean technology startups to the United States last week. The mission was to familiarize the Californians with the opportunities presented by a handpicked group of Israelis, and to help the Israelis position themselves and polish their business plans.

Organized by the California Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC) and the Cleantech Group, the participants in the “CICC Israel Cleantech Company Showcase” were selected by a steering committee that included some of the industry’s most prominent organizations – including PG&E, the California Public Utilities Commission and Israel Cleantech Ventures – who chose from a range of Israeli companies that could help fulfill California’s desire for energy independence, and an environmentally friendlier future.

The Israeli companies chosen from over 40 applicants included: 3G Solar, BotanoCap, Canarius, Cequesta Water, Coriolis Wind, CellEra, CES – Computerized Electricity Systems, Emefcy – Bio Energy Systems, HCL Clean Tech, Metrolight, SOVNA, and Tigo Energy.

The companies were chosen based on needs in California. “Ultimately, the top 12 were floating to the top in terms of the number of points they got during the steering company selection process,” says Shuly Galili, the executive director of the CICC, a US-based NGO. “We made sure there was a good selection: solar, water or wind; energy efficiency or renewable energy, water technologies etc.”

Positive feedback, continued dialogue

From November 11 through the 14th, the participants met prominent Californian bodies including the California Public Utilities Commission, General Electric, Google, Applied Materials and venture capital funds including VantagePoint Venture Partners, US Venture Partners, Virgin Green Fund, and Greylock Partners. Although it’s too early to assess what partnerships, investments or joint ventures will come from the meet, Galili and the Israeli executives who participated are very optimistic about the future.

“I can tell you that there were a number of places where the companies received positive feedback from potential partners and interest in continued dialogue,” Galili tells ISRAEL21c. “This is the first time that a lot of these companies [in America] were exposed to Israeli cleantech. I think that these [participants] will be back for additional meetings based on this trip, which allowed for a first encounter. I have no doubt that these companies will have a lot of follow-up.

“Despite the financial meltdown in the US we saw very positive interest from investors, who wanted to do follow up. There is a potential, and this particular space in California is not experiencing a meltdown. As a side note, some of these [Israeli] companies are very early stage companies. I think the point here was to allow them to have a very wide perspective to position their companies – to help them be smart business-wise.”

Californians head to Israel in June

According to the CICC, California and Israel are a natural clean tech fit. And this recent showcase meeting allowed California-based investors and companies to have a first taste of what Israel does, adds Galili, noting that Californian reps will be expected to come to Israel next June.

One of Israel’s “clean dozen” to visit California, included Cequesta Water, an Israeli company that has developed innovative new solutions for sludge dewatering and wastewater treatment for small production plants.

David Waimann, the president of Cequesta Water tells ISRAEL21c: “The trip was magnificently organized and the most impressively organized sales trip I have ever been on. California will always be the center for cleantech investment in the world, particularly northern California, Silicon Valley.

“We met all kinds of very interesting people from the financial and project world. Two particular funds want to receive more information,” concludes Waimann.

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About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman lives in Jaffa, Israel. She is a journalist, writer and blogger who focuses on the environment and clean technology from Israel and the Middle East. Published in hundreds of newspapers around the world, Karin also writes for the Huffington Post and Green Prophet.