The tide is turning as Israeli startups attract billions of dollars in foreign investment.
Israel’s high-tech sector is going green. The startup nation already leads the world in cyber and fintech, but its focus is now shifting to climate issues.
From turning food waste into plastic cups to detecting forest fires from space, from dyeing to textile algae to replacing bees with robots, Israeli companies are exploring every conceivable way to protect our planet.
Five years ago, they were attracting billions of dollars from foreign investors who saw sustainability as a side issue.
Not only that, but the IDF – where many of Israel’s best minds come up with the country’s best ideas – is now actively encouraging its soldiers to look into climate technology.
Israel currently has 700 climate-related startups — one in seven of all its startups — and 400 gathered for the PLANETech conference in Tel Aviv last week.
Ten of the best were selected to participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November.
“The future is happening now,” Uriel Klar, director of PLANETech, told NoCamel. “It is no longer a small cottage. It’s mainstream and the best entrepreneurs and investors are interested. Those who are not part of climate change are left behind.
“Israel is a center for great climate initiatives and new technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support adaptation to climate change. And it’s clear that Israel’s ecosystem will spawn hundreds of more startups to help fight climate change.
Israel is at the forefront of developing clean energy systems, climate-smart agriculture, alternative proteins, sustainable mobility and transportation, environmentally friendly water infrastructure, and more.
Climate change startups have invested $2.5 billion this year and six unicorns (billion dollar companies) are in the climate space – Tomorrow.io, Veev, Wiliot, Augury, Optibus, Via and StoreDot.
“Our goal was to bring the best technology investors in the world to Israel,” says Klar. “And that was a bit tricky, because we had to convince them that there was something to see.
But to get a first-hand look at these companies, we reached out to five of the top 10 climate investors, as well as more than a dozen other very, very successful investors from the field.
He says there is a real shift in thinking and a growing appreciation that climate issues are critical.
There were IDF men commanding some of the top units at the conference. They are building the next generation of Israeli hi-tech. Instead of building another cyber or fintech company, ClimateTech is what they want their soldiers to do after graduation.
Here’s a taste of how Israel is tackling climate change among the many startups at the PLANETech event.
Solargic tilts the solar panels throughout the day with “smart tracking” so they capture more sun and produce up to 25 percent more energy than standard fixed panels.
TripW has developed a biochemical process that turns waste from supermarkets, factories and landfills into lactic acid, a clear, syrupy liquid used to make plastic cups.
Algae creates fully biodegradable and algae-based dyes for dyeing, printing and manufacturing yarns and fibers, reducing the amount of raw materials and dyes used.
SeeTree uses drones, airplanes, satellites and other data sources to measure the growth of trees planted for carbon credits, as a quick and efficient alternative to workers literally tape measuring around tree trunks.
Feelit detects leaks and blockages in steam-carrying pipes for heavy industries using nano-sensors that attach like adhesive patches.
Refurbished Smartphones Revolution buys and sells used phones for refurbishing.
Createrra has developed an eco-innovative manufacturing process to make tiles and other building materials that don’t have to be fired in a kiln – a huge drain on fossil fuel reserves – and can be recycled.
TSL launches a network of tiny satellites no bigger than a shoebox that detect wildfires from space.
Twine Solutions has developed a digital yarn-dyeing system that allows dyeing yarn in a waterless and environmentally friendly process.
Auguri can tell if a machine is working properly or not by listening to its vibrations and comparing them to other similar machines with AI.
Ballena uses secret ingredients to make the world’s first biodegradable shoe.
Emnotion uses AI to create climate modeling solutions and explain outcome scenarios to prepare customers in agriculture, logistics, renewables and other companies for extreme weather events.
Bing Clima pioneers urban agriculture, installing solar panels and soil-free hydroponics on office rooftops. Lettuce, spinach and other leafy vegetables are offered at restaurants within walking distance.