International water technologies investment summit provides stage for start-ups, and selects wastewater treatment start-up Aquanos as winner. Interview with Aquanos CEO Udi Leshem.
This year’s Cleanvest Summit, held October 12th in conjunction with WATEC, got rave reviews from participating start-ups. “It was a very successful event, with about 150 participants, including many international investors,” says Eytan Levy, a seasoned Israeli cleantech entrepreneur who founded Aqwise, today a global leader in wastewater treatment solutions, and now heads promising start-up Emefcy.
Another water professional who hails from Aqwise, and who now heads start-up Aquanos, Udi Leshem, took home the trophy at the event, at which 12 companies, carefully chosen out of many others by a speical committee, competed.
“Cleanvest was a great networking opportunity,” says Leshem. “We got some excellent leads, not only on the investment front, but for companies who could be potential joint ventures for us, which is no less important.” Leshem congratulated the team at Israel NewTech, who stand behind the Cleanvest Summit and WATEC. “Oded Distel, Arik Makukh, Adi Yefet and the team put together a very professional, highly effective event for the Israeli start-ups. I think this is the best possible use of Israeli tax payer money, because these activities lead directly to the success of Israeli water companies and increased export.”
What is it about Aquanos that stood out to the judges as well as to the audience, which also actively participated in the voting at some of the stages of the competition? According to Leshem, the fact that the company provides a “full package” is one of its benefits. “Our solution provides customers both unique technology for wastewater treatment, together with financing packages, including revenue sharing, and long-term service agreements.” This strong go to market strategy clearly impressed the judges and audience
This is not the first time Aquanos has been recognized. The company was one of 72 start-ups from around the world invited to attend the Emerging Global Entrepreneurship event at the White House, hosted by President Obama.
Aquanos has so far raised $2M in funding, and has begun sales in 2015. Projects are currently in construction in Israel and the U.S., with lead target markets including Africa and Asia.
Arik Makukh from Israel NewTech was in charge of building the event’s agenda and the architect of the unique concept of the companies competition: “The idea of having the investment summit as a separate pre-Watec event emphasizes the difference between the investment aspects of the water industry and other isuues and topics which were discussed at the bigger WATEC conference. The Cleanvest Summit is deliberately a smaller and more intimate event than WATEC, however it was longer this year than in previous years and with more content and capacity on the international speakers and panels side, as well as more time on the stage for the Israeli companies, especially those who made it to the later stages of the competition.”
“As in any investment summit, the feedbacks from the participating start-ups are the most important indicators to the event’s success, and hearing a genuine appreciation from many of them makes us in “Israel NewTech” and “Invest in Israel” believe that we did something right”.