Mitsubishi joins Israeli investment arm to scout for food, agriculture tech

Japanese trading conglomerate seeks to actively explore innovation coming from Israel; Trendlines Agrifood will pave way to nation’s growing agritech and food tech sector

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Sensors attached to tomato plants. (Courtesy)
Sensors attached to tomato plants. (Courtesy)

Mitsubishi Corp. will work with an arm of The Trendlines Group, an Israel-Singapore investment group, to scout for emerging technologies and startups in the food and agricultural sector that could be of interest for the Japanese trading giant’s global business, the firms said in a statement.

Mitsubishi’s operations span virtually every industry, and the company is “actively exploring innovation coming from Israel,” the statement said, in which the food and agricultural tech sector (agrifood tech) “has seen tremendous development in the past decade.”

Trendlines Agrifood, the investment vehicle of The Trendlines Group scouts, evaluates and invests in agrifood tech. Mitsubishi hopes to “tap into this experience and together identify promising technologies that can be built and provide breakthrough innovation to global enterprises,” the statement said.

“Collaborating with MC is synergistic,” said Nitza Kardish, the CEO of Trendlines Agrifood, in the statement. “We gain invaluable market and industry insights from a global leader in their field, and MC leverages on our experience in technology evaluation and development.”

Leor Ben-Yakov, chief innovation officer and head of partnerships and ventures for Mitsubishi in Tel Aviv, said that the company’s Japan headquarters has “mandated” the Tel Aviv office to “tap into the Israeli innovation ecosystem across several key industries.”

According to a report by Start-Up Nation Central, in mid-2019 there were more than 350 innovative agrifood-tech firms in Israel, with the sector containing companies dealing with a wide variety of challenges: from food cultivation and manufacturing to alternative food sources, preservation and supply and up to consumption. Israel has also carved itself a key role in the alternative proteins market, fueled by its edge in agricultural, tissue engineering and stem-cell research and development.

Mitsubishi Corp. is one of Japan’s largest trading companies and operates in 10 business groups: natural gas, industrial materials, petroleum & chemicals, mineral resources, industrial infrastructure, automotive and mobility, food industry, consumer industry, power solutions and urban development.

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