A Tnuva truck enters the company's logistic centre in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi, Israel May 22, 2014. .
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN/FILE PHOTO)
An international consortium led by Bright Food-controlled Tnuva was selected by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) on Tuesday to establish a new foodtech innovation incubator in Kiryat Shmona, near the Lebanese border.
Tnuva – majority-owned by Chinese government enterprise Bright Food since 2014 – partnered with American agritech investor Finistere Ventures, Israeli venture capital platform OurCrowd and Tempo Beverages to compete in the tender. The consortium said it plans to invest up to $100 million in Israeli food and agricultural technologies.
A second bid made by a consortium led by Erel Margalit’s Jerusalem Venture Partners together with US food giant Mars Inc., Netafim and leading academic institutions – including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology – was unsuccessful. Both consortia presented their investment proposals to the IIA on Monday.
While unsuccessful in the tender, Margalit has spearheaded the push for economic development in Israel’s periphery in recent years, including advancing plans for the establishment of the Kiryat Shmona foodtech incubator and six other dedicated innovation centers, through his organization Israel Initiative ii2020.
“Foodtech and agtech innovation is at an all-time high and we are excited to be part of this initiative to establish Israel as a world leader in the foodtech arena,” said OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved.
“Our group represents the best of Israel’s food industry and leading venture capital groups from Israel and around the world.”
The Tnuva-led consortium, known as Sparks Foodtech, will be awarded an eight-year license to operate the incubator by the IIA.
Start-ups selected by the consortium to participate will benefit from government-backed innovation grants worth up to 85% of their research and development expenditure, not exceeding NIS 6m. ($1.68m.) over three years. Total IIA investment is expected to exceed NIS 100m. ($28m.) over eight years.
“Together with the establishment of the foodtech campus in Kiryat Shmona, the unique technology incubator marks a significant milestone and an important message for the Eastern Galilee region,” said Economy Minister Eli Cohen, “as it will create significant economic value for the entire region and draw many investments as well as industry and human capital.
“We will continue promoting industry in general and in the northern periphery in particular, a task that is a top priority for the Economy Ministry.”
The new incubator will join 18 existing technology incubators currently backed by the IIA, including The Kitchen FoodTech Hub in Ashdod.
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