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World Bank’s IFC makes first investments in Israel

By
September 16, 2013 23:13

In addition to getting a good investor, companies that secure IFC funding also get support and the prestige of its seal of approval.

World Bank building entrance

World Bank building entrance 370. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

The International Finance Corporation, the private-arm sector of the World Bank, made its first investments in an Israeli technology company on Monday. It came less than two weeks after its first investment in the country, and the IFC promised more to come.

“This is a bellwether,” IFC global head of venture capital Nikunj Jinsi told The Jerusalem Post. “I’d be very surprised if we didn’t have more similar investments in the next 12 to 24 months.”



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Because its mandate is to fuel development, in the past the IFC only invested in Israeli companies operating abroad in developing countries.

The recent acquisitions in Israel, however, are a result of Israel’s surge in development-related technology relating to food security, water security and access to energy.

“It’s symptomatic of what we hope to do going forward in Israel,” Jinsi said. “For the first time we see a trend where Israeli companies are looking at emerging markets from an end-user perspective, so I expect IFC will play a larger role in the coming years.”

DiViNetworks, which announced its IFC investment on Monday, reduces the cost of Internet access through the cloud. Making the Internet more accessible to the poor is a growing factor in economic development; DiViNetworks is already deployed in 21 developing countries.

“DiViNetworks equips ISPs with means to bring global data into their network in the most efficient, costeffective and controllable way,” DiViNetworks executive vice president for products Yair Shapira said.

IFC made its first investment in Israel on September 3, helping to fund Kaiima Bio-Agritech, a seed-and-breeding technology company that multiplies plant genomes without compromising their integrity.

“By 2050, farmers will be tasked to produce 70 percent more food than they do today to sustain the growing world population,” Kaiima CEO Doron Gal said. “This is a daunting challenge that modern agricultural technology must rise up to meet.”

Technological innovations can help meet the fast-growing demand for food, which is greatest in emerging markets.

In addition to getting a good investor, companies that secure IFC funding also get support and the prestige of its seal of approval.

“I’d like to think that IFC brings more to the table than money, like market access and other financial instruments further down the road,” Jinsi said.
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