Israel’s agritech sector is experiencing very positive momentum, with three major shows of confidence in the past week: the sale of Algatechnologies to GrovePoint Capital for an estimated value of $50 Million, the sale of engineered seeds company Rosetta Green to Monsanto for $35 Million, and the announcement of the GreenSoil II Investment fund.
British private equity firm Grovepoint Capital has acquired control of Algatechnologies Ltd. at an estimated value of $50 million, as reported in Globes. Founded by Kibbutz Ketura in 1998, Algatechnologies commercially cultivates the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis to supply a powerful antioxidant – astaxanthin.
“Grovepoint is looking at Israeli agritech companies with a potential for international growth, ones who could make a real impact in the world,” Grovepoint Israel Parntner Hagai Stadler told Israel NewTech. “Israel has a unique ecosystem, born out of years of necessity and a lack of resources such as water and agricultural space, together with a highly motivated and talented workforce. Actually the challenges the world is facing today are in many ways similar to those that Israel has had to deal with for years.” Stadler concludes, “We’re looking at Israeli companies in a number of fields: agritech, water, food, and other cleantech arenas. Our purpose is to bring companies to the ‘next level’, strategically and financially.”
The other major sale reported in the last few days is that of Rosetta Green, which has sold its activity to seed giant Monsanto for $35 million, which is roughly double the company’s market value, Haaretz and Globes reported. Rosetta Green makes engineered seeds for farmers, and locates and develops unique plant genes in order to develop seed strains for crops suitable as biofuels and food.
Monsanto made a significant investment in Israel’s agritech sector in the past, investing $35 million in crop bioengineering company Evogene, and signing a cooperation agreement with it, which could potentially be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Evogene.
On the investment front, the second Greensoil fund has just been announced. The second fund is similar to the first, which totaled $12 Million and invested in Israeli start-ups Fruitura and Rootility, and is made up of private investors from Canada, the U.S. and the Netherlands, focusing on Israeli agro and food technologies. Gideon Soesman, GreenSoil Investment’s managing partner said: “We are now selecting and evaluating the next set of companies with the potential to bring revolutionary Israeli technology in agro and food to international markets. Time and again our team has been impressed with the creativity, expertise, technological resourcefulness and ingenuity of the entrepreneurs and deal flow we meet – and the pressing problems they solve.”
Ophir Gore, responsible for renewable energy at Israel NewTech, spoke to us about the significance of the Rosetta Green sale. “There’s a lot of talk about the ‘Water-Energy Nexus’, for example at the recent Cleantech 2013 event which took place here in January. But there is also an ‘Energy-Agritech Nexus’. Both Rosetta Green and Monsanto’s activities, as well as Evogene’s, are geared to provide crops that are not only directed for human consumption, but also for biofuel. The more cost effective the farming methods, the more relevant biofuel production becomes. We are planning to talk more about this in our activity at the upcoming World Biofuels Markets event in Rotterdam, where we will be showcasing 10 Israeli companies.”