Millions invested in Israeli water tech [pg. 18]

L Capital Partners, the Manhattan based venture capital fund founded by global investor Jonathan Leitersdorf, has invested $7.5 million in Aquarius, an Israeli technology company, in an effort to globally market the water company's sludge-free patented solutions to wastewater management. "The main problem and cost issue with wastewater management is treating sludge," said Oded Weiss, CFO of L Capital Partners. "We see major potential for marketing this unique technology, particularly in North America." Originally developed by Elif Environmental in Ariel in the 1990s, Aquarius has acquired the global license to market the patented sludge-free wastewater treatment technology in North America, Israel and Spain. Instead of treating or simply reducing sludge, Aquarius Technologies' solutions prevent it by eliminating both biodegradable and nonbiodegradable pollutants. Using Aquarius's patented multistage activated biological process, no sludge is created in the second stage. As a result, the need for the traditional third, or tertiary, stage of wastewater treatment is eliminated. Instead, wastewater is aerated and then processed through a series of chambers containing ever-larger microorganisms, or bugs. The smallest bugs eat the pollutants and then larger bugs eat the smaller bugs as they move from one chamber to the next. The chemical-free "microbial food chain process" prevents the creation of sludge. L Capital Partners, with $165m. under management, was established in September 2004. Its partners include the US Small Business Administration and Bank Leumi. The cooperation of L Capital Partners with the American SBA (Small Business Association), which leverages money raised, is expected to open to Israeli companies a unique opportunity to penetrate global markets. "We currently have 10 investments of which three are investments in Israeli companies," said Weiss.