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Sunday, May 13, 2012

World Bank excited about Israeli cleantech firms’

Ruzgar Barisik says IFC enthusiastic about investing in local industry; adds ‘Israeli technologies are very promising’

Ruzgar Barisik, who serves as senior investment officer at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) says he sees great potential for Israel’s cleantech industry.

Barisik, who recently visited Israel, said that “Israel is a very exciting place for us: Market interest in a growing number of Israeli technologies makes this a very promising area we want to be part of.”

“I’ll be attending Agritech Israel 2012 this month, and it will be my third visit to Israel since we launched our Cleantech Investment Program this past September, meaning I’ve visited Israel more than any other country,” he told Israel NewTech.

Barisik further explained the IFC’s cleantech program’s motivation to invest in Israel: “The World Bank was founded after World War II, with a mission to alleviate poverty worldwide.

“After 10 years of activity, the organization understood that to do so it needs to be active in the private sector as well as the government sector, and in 1956 the IFC was born.”

Today, IFC is one of the world’s largest financiers for companies in the developing world and holds a $48.8 billion portfolio, spanning almost every major industry, reaching millions of people in more than 100 countries.

The IFC, he added, is looking to invest in innovative, high growth companies who are commercializing new technologies or business models.

“Israeli companies are usually looking to expand their activities beyond their domestic market. They are driven by Israeli entrepreneurs who tend to be very international in their approach, having often been educated or done business abroad.

“Additional success drivers in Israel are the great academic and industrial research programs, the strong venture capital investment community active in the country, as well as the support of government programs like Israel NewTech,” he said.

The IFC has yet to invest in Israel, but according to Barisik, the Cleantech Investment Program of the IFC is planning to invest some $150 million annually in 15 companies worldwide, and he expects that one to two of these investments can be made in Israel every year.

Reprinted with permission from Israel NewTech