Massachusetts Water Mission to Israel Looks to “Win Inbound Innovation”
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raised $266 million in financing; some notable ones are Cyber-Ark, uTest, and NeuroPhage. Bay State firms also have acquired at least eight Israeli-founded companies for a total of $1.6 billion; these deals include Akamai buying Cotendo, EMC acquiring XtremIO (and More IT Resources, last week), and Boston Scientific buying Rhythmia Medical. Meanwhile, Israeli investors have poured more than $100 million into Massachusetts real estate.
But the mission this month is all about water. “Israel has shown us that aligning academic research, public policy, industry and finance within a geographic cluster around the common objective [of] improving the cost, quality and access of water can create an innovation engine that can drive real change and economic development,” says Earl Jones of Liberation Capital, a co-chair of the trip. “This alignment is quite normal in Israel, but far less natural in the Commonwealth.”
It all adds up to a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors, and government on both sides. One highlight of the trip: a startup-pitch competition in Tel Aviv on Dec. 18, called the Water Export Technology (W.E.T.) Revolution, in which six Israeli companies (chosen from dozens of entrants) will compete for a chance to win prizes, including office space at MassChallenge, legal services, and airfare and hotel expenses for a week-long trip to Boston.
Overall, the mission “is emblematic of the type of initiative that can help assist Massachusetts-based companies and innovators to have a truly global impact,” says Flagship’s Matheson, who is emceeing the startup competition. “Having the chance to interact with the Israeli water cluster also provides us an opportunity to share ideas and technologies and to find ways to work together. Ideally, we’ll also be able to identify exciting young companies that are ready for further global expansion and for deployment in the U.S.”