Israeli Cleantech VC Nears $100 Million Goal

digital green clean tech
The finish line is in sight for Israel Cleantech Ventures (ICV), which has been racing towards a $100 million goal.

ICV is an Israeli venture capital fund that was founded in 2006 to focus exclusively on raising capital for investment in renewable energy companies. In its February financial filing the company showed it had raised nearly half the $100 million it has set to raise this year. As international funds like Blackstone begin noticing the Israeli cleantech sector, the homegrown ICV fund will become incrasingly significant on the global map.

Last February, ICV also reached the mid-point of its 2011 $100 million goal, staying focused on cleantech VC at a time when much of the world was questioning the availability of fresh capital for renewable energy. Early in its career, ICV exceeded expectations: in May 2008, the firm closed its debut fund at $75 million, far exceeding its original target of $60 million.

ICV finances a diverse portfolio of renewable energy, water, agricultural, energy efficiency, smart grid/communications, green IT, and power electronics companies with the goal of transforming innovative research to commercially-viable technology. According to its website, ICV’s portfolio includes AqWise, Better Place, BrightViewCelleraCRE, Emefcy, FRX Polymers, Innosave, Metrolight, Panoramic Power, Pythagoras, Scodix, and Tigo Energy.

Among this list is Pythagoras, a now a well-established international firm with offices in California, US that manufactures a completely unique clear solar skylight that lets light through and Better Place, the well-known electric car recharging company that is making a bet on battery swapping. Both got their boost into the limelight with the firm. Tigo improves the performance of solar arrays, both at the rooftop and at the utility-scale level. Emefcy has a boot in both the water and energy camps: it makes clean energy from dirty water in a waste water treatment process.

At a recent panel of the Cleantech Global Innovation Index, which named Israel this month as second best in the world for cleantech innovation after Denmark, ICV partner Meir Ukeles noted that Israeli innovation is in large part attributable to the country’s mandatory military service that places young adults, ages 18-21, in leadership roles that give them both exposure to the world of technology research and a healthy dose of self confidence. He added that the tiny size of Israel has made commercializing technology more challenging than innovation.

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