Israeli cannabis start-ups push their wares in New York

“We’re preaching Israel as Start-Up Nation all around the world,” said Saul Kaye, founder & CEO of CannaTech.

Saul Kaye, Sruli Weinreb, Jesse Kaplan and Yohanan Danino. (photo credit: DAVID ZIMAND)
Saul Kaye, Sruli Weinreb, Jesse Kaplan and Yohanan Danino.
(photo credit: DAVID ZIMAND)
NEW YORK – When people think of Israel, the word “cannabis” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But investors are saying it should be, and on Thursday they gathered in New York to meet Israeli cannabis start-ups.
iCan Connect, New York’s first-ever Israeli Cannabis Investor Symposium, provided 130 investors with the opportunity to learn about the innovative Israeli cannabis industry, meet executives and researchers, and evaluate investment opportunities.
Ten Israeli cannabis start-ups presented including Fotonica Bio-Lighting Solutions, iCANsee – which is a pioneer of the ocular delivery of cannabinoids – and CannaDu, a medical cannabis and life sciences investment fund.
Saul Kaye, founder & CEO of CannaTech – the organization behind iCan Connect – started the company five years ago following two decades of work in retail pharmaceuticals.
“Cannabis came along and I was incredibly intrigued,” he told The Jerusalem Post. Kaye grew up in Australia and made aliyah around the same time that he began his pharmaceutical career.
“We’re preaching Israel as Start-Up Nation all around the world. I get to go around and show the world how Israelis use cannabis, which is an illegal substance,” he said.
The one-day gathering brought together Israel’s early stage and mature cannabis companies and entrepreneurs with qualified investors, family offices, money managers, venture capital firms, private equity funds and institutional investors.
“I brought a lot of investors to iCAN,” Brenda Smith, an investor, told the Post at the event. “This conference reminds us that it’s a global market.”
Also in attendance at the symposium were Yohanan Danino, a former Israel police chief, now a cannabis executive, and Tal Ohana, mayor of Yeruham.
“I’m here to ask you to come and invest in Yeruham,” Ohana said. “We will support you, and the Israeli government will do much more – subsidies for land, for high skilled labor, taxes.”
Kaye said that Israel is a great incubator “because of the massive government support for innovation. And you don’t have to look far to see all of the ways cannabis can treat people.”