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
Because its mandate is to fuel development, in the past the IFC
only invested in Israeli companies operating abroad in developing
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
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
“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
In addition to getting a good investor, companies that secure
IFC funding also get support and the prestige of its seal of
“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.