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Israeli green tech highlighted at Milken Institute Global Conference

by Jonah Lowenfeld

May 9, 2012 | 11:31 am

Israeli scientists and the entrepreneurs who bring their innovations to market have accomplished some remarkable feats during the Jewish state’s 64 years. Israel has long had dairy farms, despite not having any pastureland. Today, thanks to drip-irrigation technology, its desert regions produce quality wine.

These and other eco-friendly innovations from Israel were discussed at a panel on May 1 at the 15th annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills.

One of many sessions coordinated by the Milken Institute’s Israel Center, the panelists, including a representative from the Israeli prime minister’s office, a venture capitalist who invests in Israeli green technology, a researcher with the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and the CEO of a company developing cutting-edge seed technology, discussed, among other subjects, role a government should take in supporting the development of innovative technology.

Panelist Glen Schwaber, an American-born, Harvard-educated partner at Israel Cleantech Ventures, said that his company, which has managed a $75 million fund that invests in Israeli companies pursuing ecological innovation since 2007 and is now recruiting investors for a second $100 million fund, has backed about 50 different companies in that time.

One of the major drivers of Israeli innovation, Schwaber said, is a program run through the office of the chief scientist at Israel’s ministry of industry and trade that offers Israeli green tech startups significant non-equity funding to help get them off the ground.

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