Jerusalem-based VC firm OurCrowd and US firm Waterfund said Monday they will work jointly to set up an investment portfolio of 15 “leading” water and agricultural technology companies.
Waterfund, which is a global water investment and trading firm that acquires and manages infrastructure assets that use water treatment technologies, is committing $50 million of capital to the portfolio, which will be managed by OurCrowd. The first investment is in San Francisco-based Plenty, Inc., a vertical farming firm, the two companies said in a statement.
The companies also said they are jointly setting up a financial entity called Aquantos that will issue water-focused investment products, such as blue bonds and other instruments that will enable investment in clean technologies and water technologies. Blue bonds are a new ocean-financing instrument whereby funds raised are earmarked exclusively for projects deemed ocean-friendly.
“The lack of private capital has held back the huge growth potential of the water innovation sector,” said Scott Rickards, CEO of Waterfund, in the statement. “Waterfund’s partnership with OurCrowd is designed to solve those challenges by offering equity investments in innovative tech companies and debt financing to carefully selected projects and water-saving technologies. Waterfund is constantly seeking innovations to attract private capital to water,” Rickards added.
The Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, present “a huge opportunity” to bring new water and agricultural technology to the water scarcity challenges of the Middle East, said Jon Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd. “Alongside Waterfund, it is our mission to invest in and help build game-changing technology companies.”
The partnership with Waterfund will “drive more private capital to address the critical challenges of water,” he said.
Waterfund was founded in 2013 to direct private capital into global water assets. The company invests in, operates, and manages water treatment solutions and technologies. Waterfund also publishes advanced data analytics through its proprietary platform developed in partnership with IBM (the “Water Cost Index,” or “WCI”), enabling innovative, metric-based investment decision making and climate-based risk mitigation.
OurCrowd is a venture investment platform with $1.5 billion of committed funding, and investments in more than 240 portfolio companies and 25 venture funds.