Israeli tech firms optimistic after Texas visit

High-tech companies hope to rope in deals from investors.

The largest-ever delegation of Israeli high-tech companies to visit Texas returned to Israel today after three days of intensive talks. Both the visitors and hosts believe that the visit was a great success and will have a long-term affect on Israel's high-tech industry, including investment from Texan institutional investors in Israeli venture capital funds and in other investment channels.

STARTech Early Ventures founder and managing partner Matthew Blanton told "Globes", "This visit opened the eyes of both sides. Unfortunately, many Texans think that Israel is big desert full of camels. Texans who have never been exposed to Israel learned from this delegation the fact that if there are any camels in Israel, it does not contradict the fact that it is a high-tech powerhouse and great source of innovation." STARTech is based in the Austin suburb of Richardson, which is considered the state's answer to Silicon Valley.

Texan government and academic officials openly said that they were interested in, and follow, Israeli companies. They told their visitors they hoped that if they spread the news of this interest back home, Texan high-tech centers could be an excellent springboard into the US market for Israeli companies.

Blanton noted, "Large parts of the US that are suffering from prolonged droughts, especially Texas, could become attractive markets for innovative Israeli water technology companies."

Blanton also pointed to Texas' petrochemicals industry and refineries. The Gulf of Mexico based refineries refine five million barrels of oil a day, a third of total US production, and are heavy consumers of water and energy. Another major water and energy consumer is the state's agricultural sector.

Israel-United States Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD-F) executive director Dr. Eitan Yudilevich added that talks between Israeli entrepreneurs and executives of Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN), including president and CEO Richard K. Templeton, were very significant. Templeton's participation in this meeting reflects the importance that the company attributed to it.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 13, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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