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IBM to invest in Israeli cleantech start ups

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Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

IBM to invest in Israeli cleantech start ups

As reported in Globes, the program, in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, is intended to reach dozens of companies.

Sources inform “Globes” that, this Tuesday, IBM Israel will announce a program for investing in cleantech (energy and water) in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. The announcement is part of a general move in the past few years by the computing giant to get into cleantech, after indentifying it as a growth engine.

Collaboration between the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and IBM is not something new. The ministry’s Program for the Encouragement of Multi-National Companies` Project Center in Israel connects the multi-nationals with local technology companies, and gives financial support for adapting the local company’s product to the multi-national’s needs. For its part, the multi-national company supports the adaptation process, both financially and by marketing it overseas.

Jacob Fisher, who runs the multi-nationals program and the Tnufa fund, told “Globes” that the new program would be different from IBM’s investments to date in the multi-nationals program framework.

Up to now, IBM has invested in its more traditional areas, such as information technology. The company has invested through its Global Technology Unit, not necessarily in start ups. By contrast, the new investment channel is directed at cleantech start ups.

“Up to now, IBM had 5-6 projects here annually,” says Fisher. “The new investment channel is intended to reach many more Israeli start ups several dozen a year.”

After the official launch of the initiative on Tuesday, the ministry and IBM will publish a call for proposals to Israeli companies. Israel is one of only a few countries in which IBM intends to invest through such a dedicated investment channel. The general manager of IBM Israel is Meir Nissensohn.