Israel Cleantech Ventures raises more than cleantech hopes [VIDEO]

AqWise is part of the Israel Cleantech Ventures portfolio. The company uses bacteria and a plastic bead aeration system to treat municipal sewage. With gasoline prices that could skyrocket to $7 a gallon within four years, and the threat of …

AqWise is part of the Israel Cleantech Ventures portfolio. The company uses bacteria and a plastic bead aeration system to treat municipal sewage.

With gasoline prices that could skyrocket to $7 a gallon within four years, and the threat of global warming looming over our heads, Israeli entrepreneurs are rising to the challenge of creating new technologies to lighten our planet’s carbon emissions load, and ensure water and energy resources are secured for the future.

But new technologies can’t be fueled on dreams alone. Helping a set of Israeli superstar cleantech companies develop and market their technologies is Israel’s first venture capital fund Israel Cleantech Ventures.

Founded in 2006, the investment firm that targets cleantech in renewable energy, water purification, and energy efficiency has just announced that its first fund has exceeded management’s expectations of $60 million, closing at $75 million.

This is excellent news for the technologies that Israel Cleantech is helping bring to life, and for Americans who are already starting to benefit from some of them.

Israel Cleantech’s portfolio includes Shai Agassi’s Project Better Place, and the electric car prototype unveiled this week in Israel. There is Metrolight’s new breed of electronic ballasts that are saving American cities and superstores millions of dollars on electricity costs, and sparing the environment from harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

The fund also supports AqWise, a company that uses bacteria and a plastic bead aeration system to treat municipal sewage effectively and naturally. Founded in 2000, AqWise can upgrade wastewater treatment plants using its Attached Growth Airlift Reactor process, a system that biologically increases water treatment capacity. The company has about a dozen commercial units in place around the world, with an international target market estimated at over a $1 billion a year.

Other companies Israel Cleantech supports include Citrine Renewable Energy, a landfill biogas treatment solution, Emefcy which is producing energy from wastewater (initiated by AqWise founders), and Pythagoras Solar.

Although choosing only Israeli or Israel-related cleantech innovation, which is among the best in the world, Israel Cleantech sees international support from very high-profile investors in America and Europe. They include the Netherlands-based asset manager Robeco Private Equity and the US-based financial institution Piper Jaffray.

“As we completed the diversification for the first US-based cleantech fund of funds, it was important for us to have exposure to the leading-edge innovation in alternative energy, advanced materials and water technologies taking place in Israel,” said Danny Zouber, principal at Piper Jaffray Private Capital.

“Israel Cleantech Ventures offers our investors a level of expertise and experience in those
sectors that will enhance our overall portfolio,” he added in a company press release.

Based in the Tel Aviv suburb city of Ramat Hasharon, Israel Cleantech is one to watch out for. It is managed by partners Jack Levy, Meir Ukeles and Glen Schwaber. They work with a team of seasoned cleantech industry veterans including Arnon Goldfarb, Eytan Levy, Israel Kroizer and Yigal Stav.

About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman is an award-winning environment news publisher who founded Green Prophet (www.greenprophet.com) to connect North Americans to issues that matter in the Middle East. She is the CEO of the Internet of Things startup flux, a company that is making social grow tools for urban farmers everywhere (www.fluxiot.com). Karin can be reached at karin (at) fluxiot.com.