About 50 representatives from various parts of Israel's cleantech industry recently met in Herzliya Pituah to launch a networking initiative. They included venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, Ronit Golovaty from the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and even Jaclyn Marcus from the California Public Utilities Commission. The meet-up was organized by Jonathan Shapira, from Boston, and Gene Dolgin from Tel Aviv. The Cleantech Israel currently has 134 members.
Jonathan Shapira is a law student from Boston who is currently serving an internship with Israel Cleantech Ventures Funds, where Gene Dolgin is an analyst. The US law firm of Goodwin Procter LLP, which does extensive cleantech business, financed the meet-up. Shapira says that he will soon be working for the firm.
Shapira and Dolgin, aware that there are similar cleantech networking groups in places like Boston and Silicon Valley, decided to organize the group to enable key players in the industry in Israel - entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and government officials - to meet and exchange ideas. Shapira notes that while Israel has many strengths when it comes to cleantech, the lack of government support, especially when compared to what is happening in other countries, may hold the industry back. He hopes that members of the Cleantech Israel group, together with other organizations such as Waterfronts - Israel Water Alliance, and the newly created Israel Energy Forum, might be able to persuade the government to implement better policies related to renewable energy, clean water, and the environment.
Shapira told "Globes", "Gene and I decided to organize the network together, and we received a strong response, especially from entrepreneurs and investors. Other parties quickly joined, including academics and a few government officials.
The participants at the Cleantech Israel meet-up included former Gemini Israel Funds partner Tali Aben; Genesis Partners principle Gil Dibner; Terra Venture Partners LP general partner Dr. Harold Weiner; and Israel Cleantech managing partner Jack Levy. Levy noted, "Although Israel entered cleantech late, great things have emerged here within only three years, on both the entrepreneurs and the funds side."
Participating entrepreneurs included low-cost regenerative fuel-cell developer Enstorage Ltd. CEO Eran Yarkoni, wastewater treatment solutions developer AqWise Ltd. VP business development Udi Leshem; Emefcy Bioenergy Systems CEO Eytan Levy, who previously co-founded AqWise; Phoebus Energy Ltd. CEO Yoav Ben-Yaacov; Ashkelon Technological Industries (ATI) cleantech director Rafi Nevo; SolarPower Ltd. co-CEO Alon Tamari; and Noam Ilan, who is the project manager of the alternative energy park under construction at the Eilot Regional Council in the southern Negev.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 10, 2008
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