Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Grass Can Be Greener - Update on Clean Tech

Earlier this month, Green Tech Media posted a great update byMeir Ukeles of Israel Cleantech Ventures on the growing popularity of Israeli Green Tech companies.

I summarized the main points from this report, but I recommend reading the full article.

    1. Background: Fueled by acute constraints in natural resources, Israel has spawned a number of successful water technology and alternative energy companies, including recognized names in drip irrigation (Netafim), desalination (IDE), geothermal energy (Ormat), fuel cells (Medis), and solar thermal energy (Solel/Luz).
    2. Israel’s academic institutions in these areas have led to world class cleantech capabilities and more than 350 active cleantech companies in Israel today.
    3. The Human Asset: The roots of this growing community of cleantech entrepreneurs can be traced to:
      • established or “legacy” industrial companies active in energy, water, chemicals etc.,
      • academic institutions with long histories as research leaders in energy and water sciences
      • “crossover” initiatives or entrepreneurs moving into cleantech from traditional areas of Israeli technology leadership such as power electronics, semiconductors, and even biotech and agritech.
      • founders or key members of some of the most recognized names in Israel’s high tech world (Checkpoint, Comverse, Chromatis, Scitex, and many others) now involved in launching cleantech companies.
      • Israeli cleantech companies must overcome the same challenges faced by counterparts in other countries, including the challenge of penetrating often risk-averse customers in the energy and water markets, managing cash burn rates against long sales and adoption cycles, etc. However, Israeli companies do operate under some unique constraints, starting with their distance from and historical lack of familiarity with many of the key customers and channel partners for their products and technologies.
      • Israel’s most important resource is its entrepreneurs – a seemingly inexhaustible supply of talented business people and technologists who excel at looking beyond traditional ways of solving market problems and inefficiencies.
That, coupled with the truly colossal demand for technologies to address the world’s insatiable need for clean, accessible energy, water and air, is what is already putting Israel on the map as a global cleantech player.

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