Not long ago, an Israeli space exploration startup named Helios discovered something that caught their scientists by surprise: proprietary technology developed to produce oxygen on the Moon and eventually enable life there can also be used to produce iron and steel here on Earth.
The process developed by Helios achieves this with zero emissions and requires significantly smaller energy inputs compared to conventional methods.
This is one of many examples of the ways in which startups and technology companies discover their relevance to fighting climate change, by changing their core activity or adapting their products (pivoting or spinning off).
Start-Up Nation Central data show that Israel is home to some 750 active innovation-driven startups and mature companies that are already dealing with developing solutions to a wide range of climate challenges – from carbon capturing through production and storage of energy up to electrification and optimization of transportation, waste management, cyclical economy, green building and materials, alternative sources of protein and more.
But the affinity to this field need not be limited to companies whose core solutions are intended for these purposes.
In an era when global investments in climate have reached $87 billion per year, a sum that seems set to rise even further, there are more than 7,000 active tech companies in Israel that may appear to have no direct connection to environmental issues but are in position to increase their relevance to the climate solutions market.
This can be done by minor modifications to existing technological solutions, through more significant changes to the company mission, or by establishing new, climate-oriented divisions.
How Bringg and Tomorrow.io did it
There are already active Israeli companies that have successfully transitioned into the field of climate change.
One good example is Bringg, which raised nearly $185 million for their platform for business cargo logistics. The company’s BringgGreen solution helps customers monitor, communicate, and minimize levels of carbon emissions in the late stages of delivery chains.
Another successful example is Tomorrow.io, which provides weather intelligence to companies and helps them adapt to weather events.
The company’s previous name was ClimaCell, since its early focus was on analyzing the ways in which precipitation affects cellular reception, but nowadays the company focuses its activities on addressing climate change concerns.
An unusual opportunity
Climate change dramatically affects living conditions around the world, and governments and corporations are looking for the groundbreaking innovation that will help them comply with increasingly tightening regulation, find new business opportunities, and eventually deal with the rising consumer demand for services and products with a low carbon footprint.
This reality creates an unusual opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship.
For us at Start-Up Nation Central and the Environmental Sustainability Innovation Lab (ESIL), expanding the number of innovative companies that operate in the climate tech sector is key in the effort to support the growth of the Israeli innovation ecosystem.
For this reason, we recently joined forces to launch the SustainIL Challenge as part of the Climate Solutions Award. The challenge offers recognition and a monetary reward to companies that pivot or establish subsidiaries dealing with climate change.
By truly recognizing the excellent innovation foundations that Israel possesses, we believe this challenge will significantly contribute toward positioning Israel as a leader in climate technology and as a global center of innovative solutions for dealing with global environmental challenges.
Yael Weiss is head of Climate Tech at Start-Up Nation Central. Eli Cymbalista is CEO of Environmental Sustainability Innovation Lab (ESIL).