February Edition 2022 IsraelDesks Presented by In Partnership with
In this bumper edition of IsraelDesks Magazine, we take a deep dive into the world of climate tech and speak to powerhouse domestic and global law firms on Israel's unique role in the sector, soaring VC investment, and how Israel can support the promises made during November's COP26 Climate Conference in Scotland. We also explore the increasingly warm relationship between Israel and the Nordic countries and how technological innovation is driving Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway to new and exciting collaborations with Israel. We speak with thought leaders at the forefont, including Sweden's Vinnova, Innovation Center Denmark and the Finnish Embassy. Lee Saunders, Editor IsraelDesks
Jurisdiction in the Spotlight » » Israel and Nordic region to reach new economic heights? » » Interview with Executive Director of Innovation Center Denmark » » Interview with Counsellor, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Finland, and with the Senior Advisor in Trade and Economic Affairs at the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv. Recent Market Trends » » In an American Bankruptcy Proceeding, Everything Old Can Be New Again » » 2021 Summary – The Numbers Behind the Legal Sector Industry Focus | The evolution of Israel’s climate tech landscape Table of Contents 04 16 32
Industry Focus The evolution of Israel’s climate tech landscape
5 Where is Israel in the global fight against climate change and what can it offer? Taking climate change more seriously: Middle East is a climate hotspot Israel has much do, and even more to gain Last November, the COP26 Climate Conference in Scotland saw world leaders make some bold commitments to address the ongoing threat of climate change. These commitments included phasing out coal by 2050, reversing deforestation by 2030, cutting methane emissions and much more. In spite of the multiple challenges, there were some encouraging moves. Dr. Tzipi Iser Itsiq, partner and director of the Environmental Protection, Cleantech and Clean Energy Department at Lipa Meir & Co, said: “The US-led methane reduction initiative has received international backing, as has the consent of 100 countries to act to protect rainforests. The most interesting move is the announcement by the US and China of cooperation in adapting to the climate crisis.” While Israel has typically lagged behind some other countries in prioritizing or addressing climate change, there has been a slow but noticeable shift in recent years. Whether it is to reduce emissions, alleviate the impact on public health, improve air quality, or drive innovative new industries, notably climate-tech, Israel has much do, and even more to gain. Governments and companies are indeed taking climate change more seriously than they did a decade ago, with present dangers highlighted by wildfires in the U.S. and historic heatwaves in Europe, and Israel is no exception. The Middle East is also seen particularly as a climate hot spot: “It is warming up one-and-a-half times quicker than the world average,” said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “In the Gulf region, it’s already two degrees more than what it was before the Industrial Revolution. So, things are taking a turn toward the worst in the Middle East in terms of climate change,” he added.
6 “According to climate scientists Israel will suffer from climate change in severe ways due to its geographic location. Droughts, water shortages, and desertification are predicted to be main issues which will affect life in Israel,” added Eyal Ofer, partner and head of Environmental Law and Sustainability at Tadmor Levy & Co. Galit Ofer, partner and Head of Environmental Law at Shibolet, says: “There is hope that following Bennett's commitment to net-zero by 2050, a commitment he had made during COP26, the new government shall be more determined than previous ones. Israel should undertake short-term targets and not just the long-term goal. It should take stronger measures in reducing carbon, transportation, waste treatment, and transitioning into alternative energy sources.” “Israel's target for 2030 is a 27% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions, and is considered low on a global scale. In light of this, action should be taken in order to update the climate targets for 2030,” added Dr. Tzipi Iser Itsiq. “I think that climate change is and should be the cornerstone of regional cooperation in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean,” Prime Minister Bennett stated. In December, Israel and Jordan joined together in a water-for-energy project, which would see Jordan build 600 MW of solar generating capacity in exchange for 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water provided by Israel. After a landmark visit to the UAE by Bennett, Israel and the UAE unveiled plans to set up a joint R&D fund to help combat climate change and promote clean energy, with both nations emphasizing agriculture and desertification. In November, Israel’s University of Haifa signed an academic cooperation agreement with the UAE’s Zayed University,focusingonenvironmental issuesandspearheading joint research between faculty and students. Furthermore, the UN, in fact, announced the launch of the first-ever Middle East and North Africa Climate Week, which will take place from February 28 to March 3, 2022, in the UAE. Paving the way for regional cooperation in the Middle East
7 “While Israel has a very small contribution to climate change, it may have a big contribution to solutions,” said Tadmor’s Ofer. While Israel’s share in the total global air pollution and CO2 emissions is estimated to equal a single metropolitan area in India or China, Bennett has stated that Israel’s real contribution to the war on climate change will come from the development of technology. “Israeli start-up and climate tech can tackle climate change, both in mitigation, meaning mainly reducing emissions, but mostly, in adaption to the challenges that climate change will cause,” adds Tadmor’s Ofer. “In that way, Israeli start-ups and climate tech are developing solutions to challenges that Israel is already coping with, such as water desalination, mass food and agriculture production in the desert, water accumulation and other challenges that are unique to Israel.” “Israel is home to more than 500 companies that deal with clean technology and specialize in sustainable agricultural technologies, clean energy concepts and electric vehicles,” said Dr. Tzipi Iser Itsiq. “Therefore, Israel can use the huge budgets invested in the climate economy by the leading European countries and the United States as an opportunity to leverage its research and innovation capabilities.” Ofer at Shibolet adds: “Israel is already well known worldwide for its innovation in the fields of agriculture, water, air, and land treatment- all of which are very close to the fields of climate tech and sustainability. In addition, Israel's disadvantages may themselves lead to innovations. Israel’s need to establish its energy independence, strengthen homeland security and military skills through cyber and intelligence units, and the fact that it is a small-scale economy, may all contribute to new technologies.” So what role will Israel specifically play in the fight against climate change? Use the big budgets in the US and Europe to leverage Israeli innovation
8 Entrepreneurial activity and investment interest in climate tech have skyrocketed, with growing market opportunities for new and existing technologies. Cost competitive renewable energy sources, maturing enabling technologies, and a change in consumer sentiment have encouraged a new crop of climate tech companies. New funds devoted specifically to climate have launched at an astonishing rate in 2021: from blue-chip venture capital firms like Union Square Ventures, from large private equity players like TPG and General Atlantic, from a whole new breed of climate-specific VCs like Lowercarbon Capital. Ofer at Shibolet adds: “Institutional investors are more ESG-cognizant. Investors, VCs, funds, and institutional investors usually are those who understand the risks as well as the huge opportunities in the climate tech markets. There is a lot of money flowing in those fields; we now see a new climate/sustainability fund being raised almost once a month.” Venture capitalists are raising larger rounds of funding in the climate tech sector. VC fundraising for climate tech-focused funds will hit a record USD 21 billion this year, according to a study by Silicon Valley Bank & SPD Silicon Valley Bank, with California, New York and Massachusetts representing the major climate tech hubs in the U.S. Barely a day goes by now without a climate tech start-up announcing a major new funding round – and Israel is no exception. Israeli climate-tech Investor interest in climate tech is climbing; new fund almost once a month Venture capitalists are raising larger rounds of funding for climate tech Israeli climate-tech companies raised USD 2.2 billion in 2021, 57% higher than 2020
9 companies raised USD 2.2 billion in 2021, 57% higher than the previous 2020 record, according to a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive report called “Israel’s State of Climate Tech 2021 by the Israel Innovation Authority and Israeli non-profit PLANETech. The four highest funding rounds each came in different fields, with Future Meat raising USD 347 million for the development of sustainable cultivated meat technology. This is believed to be the largest amount ever invested worldwide in a cultivated meat company, with the sum to be used to build a production plant in the U.S. There were other major rounds that contributed to this total: Wiliot raising USD 200 million to improve supply chain footprint via battery-free sensors, UBQ Materials raising USD 170 million to convert waste to climate positive thermoplastic, and VIA raising USD 130 million to promoteanadvanceddigital platformfor shared transportation.Furthermore, “SolarEdge has become the first Israeli company to enter the S&P 500 index and Tomorrow.io is going public on Nasdaq at a USD 1.2 billion valuation", said Uriel Klar, Director of PLANETech. “There is a very vibrant climate tech ecosystem in Israel with nearly 650 startups, with funding of almost USD 3 billion between 2018 and 2020,” said Uriel Klar in an interview with The Times of Israel prior to the release of the report. Ag-tech, food-tech, water-tech, clean-tech and electric vehicles are among well-established fields in Israel, all operating in the climate-tech ecosystem. Today, Israel has nearly 1,200 companies that provide solutions to climate challenges. with 637 companies identified in the sector, the majority of which were founded in the past seven years. The report also noted that Israel has long been highly regarded for its thriving innovation ecosystem and its population’s entrepreneurial capabilities, and the country could position itself as a leading player in climate tech. “The eyes of the entire world are looking to the technology sector to produce innovative and ground-breaking solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the consequences of the crisis,” said Dror Bin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority. Almost 1,200 companies in Israel offering solutions to climate challenges
10 But the sector faces vital issues, with the main challenges to growth identified as access to capital, regulatory hurdles, and the difficulties of market scaleup opportunities. Of 200 Israeli climate companies surveyed for the report, 72% said their most significant challenge is securing funding. One key issue is how to encourage banks, pension funds and other financial institutions to divest from fossil fuels and invest in green projects and technologies instead. Presently, there is not enough private capital in climate tech companies and that such operations were often heavily supported by the government. Between 2018 and 2020, the IIA has supported 290 Israeli ventures with a total budget of USD 250million,which amounted to 16%of its annual budget, and has also launched a number of initiatives to back ideation and earlystage ventures via incubators and innovation labs. According to this State of Climate Tech 2021 report, Israeli climate tech companies attracted over 550 investment groups and private investors, but need dedicated funds for climate tech here. The government also has an important role to play in raising Israel’s profile in climate tech.AsAri Siegmann,chief of staffof theCEOof the Israeli Innovation Authority, said: “We need towork together with the regulators,withinministries to push Israeli climate tech forward. Start-ups need to be connected to the relevant government authorities early on to build solutions. In many cases, the technologies they develop are used in national infrastructure industries [which are usually government-owned].” With money the catalyst, securing funding is key, say large majority Regulatory challenges
11 Water Technologies and Desertification Greater role of software in today’s climate tech start-ups There are specific fields related to environmental issues where Israel has strongholds such as water technologies, agriculture and alternative energy (especially solar energy). Over the past few years, several actors in Israel are actively seeking to merge Israel’s agricultural, energy and water technology capabilities with this start-up scene in order to convert Israel into a global leader within the clean-tech area – a field often defined as ‘environmental technologies that involve products, processes or services that reduce the negative environmental impacts of various industries or improve the efficiency of the use of natural resources.’ According to the Israeli law firm, Meitar, “Israel's leadership in these areas includes the establishment of effective and efficient water desalination facilities and ensuring "water independence" and the development of advanced water technologies in a variety of areas. These include efficient irrigation technologies, desalination and well water improvement, polluted water purification, water quality monitoring, reducing water leaks, water metering including remote metering, water security, cyber assessment for water systems and more.” One reason why today’s climate and clean tech boom will play out more favorably than previously is the role of software in today’s climate tech startups. The first clean-tech era was dominated by companies that simply did not fit this profile: solar panel start-ups, battery start-ups, biofuel start-ups, electric vehicle start-ups. These companies had to build factories, develop large-scale manufacturing and production strategies, engage in years of basic science development, iterate through generations of hardware prototypes—often before they even knew whether they had a commercially viable product. They did not benefit from the basic dynamics and economics that software companies enjoy. Israel tops the list of G20 countries operating in the fields of precision agriculture, cultivated meat, irrigation systems and water desalination
12 Having passed the State budget – after years of paralysis – the current government has advocated for green investments in the agricultural sector and electric vehicles. Regarding the agricultural field the government has proposed to invest over NIS 2 billion in promoting innovation and productivity in the agricultural sector. In electric vehicles the government will invest heavily in the required infrastructure as part of the exit strategy after the Corona crisis. Compulsory installation of electric chargers in certain new buildings is part of this initiative. Precision agriculture is another good example of an area in which software is poised to unlock decarbonization and economic value creation. Agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accounting for between up to a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Making agriculture more sustainable is therefore essential to decarbonizing our world. To meet the dietary needs of a growing population, the food and agriculture industry is adopting new production and distribution technologies. Sustainable agriculture businesses have spurred investor appetite, attracting larger rounds of financing – growing capital investment to a projected USD 9.4 billion in 2021. The success of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods shows that there is consumer demand for plant-based meat alternatives while also lessening the reliance on livestock which has several negative climate impacts including harmful emissions, detrimental water practices and disruptive land management. There was also a USD 105 million investment in cultivated meat start-up Aleph Farms (in which actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio participated). Israeli food tech startup Redefine Meat has announced plans to commercially launch its plant-based alternative meat products in the UK and elsewhere in Europe by the end of the year, and is expecting to reach the United States and Asia in 2022. Israeli developer Future Meat Technologies has found a way to mass-produce its own labgrown meat in a way that makes cultured meat. Precision Agriculture, Food and Cultivated Meat
13 The global agricultural industry is currently experiencing its biggest disruption yet, as farmers continue to see the benefits of smart farming and technology to increase crop yields, lower labor costs, and accompany theworld’s growing demand for food. For this reason and others, the leading global private equity and venture capital firm recently led a USD 37 million Series B round in an Israeli robotas-a-service firm that is revolutionizing the farming world by transforming one of its oldest resources — a tractor — into an autonomous vehicle. Israeli ag-tech company Prospera, which develops computer vision technologies to monitor and predict plant health and development, was bought for USD 300 million by US manufacturing company Valmont Industries. Extensive media coverage has put electric vehicles (EV) in the spotlight during the current climate tech revolution. With increasing valuations and large funding rounds, capital investment in the transportation and logistics sector is expected to hit USD 19.5 billion in 2021. The success of companies like Tesla has proven that EVs are on the cusp of wider adoption, but the market has two major hurdles to overcome. EVs remain a luxury purchase hampered by consumer perceptions over driving range and limited access to overnight rapid charging. For EVs to become the family automobile of choice, an open and robust cross-country charging infrastructure will need to be established, EVs need to become more affordable and the average American’s predilections – long wedded to the internal combustion engine – need to change. Tesla as well as companies like ChargePoint are addressing driving range issues by investing in rapid charging stations infrastructure, while the entry of more established automakers into the EV market is expected to lower the price of vehicles as competition takes hold and production volumes ramp up. However, increased government subsidies may be required to widen the availability of EVs to more customers to accelerate the switch over to a fully electric national standard. Global agricultural industry facing biggest disruption yet Full throttle towards Electric
14 Other subsectors attracting investor interest are autonomous driving and fleetmanagement software.While these technologies don’t directly improve the climate, they enable electrification of shipping/logistics and increased fuel efficiency for gas-powered fleets. Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today. Nature-based solutions, such as planting more trees and rehabilitating wetlands, will not be enough to absorb all the carbon dioxide necessary and will have to be supplemented by technological carbon removal programs. Market-based solutions will be essential: technologies and products that drive global decarbonization by creating economic value, gaining mass adoption and generating compelling returns on investment. As evidenced by the growing investment and number of deals, companies are responding. Dr. Ruth Dagan, partner and head of Environment and Climate Change at Herzog Fox Neeman points out: “Corporates are also looking at investment opportunities in innovative technologies in the climate change space, particularly such which would assist them in addressing not only their own carbon footprint but equally reduce Scope 3 emissions (Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization). Dr. Tzipi Iser Itsiq added: “Our clients include start-ups inthefieldofwastetreatmentand its transformationfromanuisance to a resource, corporations engaged in the production of renewable energy, smart mobility infrastructure companies, and industrial companies that adopt innovative technological methods to reduce their ecological footprint.” Dr. Iser Itsiq finishes, optimistically: “We anticipate that the rise in public awareness, along with regulatory imposition applied to financial entities, will cause stakeholders in the economy and the private sector to lead the desired change.” Market-based and nature-based solutions will be equally vital
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Jurisdiction in the Spotlight Israel and Nordic region to reach new economic heights?
17 Whether it is down to generous welfare states, free market openness or a strong focus on education and responsibility, the Nordic model has many admirers. Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have high standards of education, high economic productivity, high social equality, high social trust and high levels of personal happiness, according to many annual polls. The relationship between Israel and the Nordic countries may often appear complex at best, or negligible at worst, but the truth is very different, and it is continuing to change. The countries share many values and collaborations and trade continue to move in a very positive direction. Uptick in trade and interest between Israel and Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland pave the way for greater collaborations. Total Israeli exports to Nordics jumped 9.4% Israeli Imports from Norway 226.1 208.4 -7.8% Israeli Exports to Norway 57.1 58.3 +2.1% Israeli Imports from Sweden 730.0 706.3 -3.2% Israeli Exports to Sweden 130.1 158.4 +21.7% Israeli Imports from Denmark 297.5 323.2 +8.6% Israeli Exports to Denmark 94.1 98.5 +4.7% Israeli Imports from Finland 273.1 356.6 +30.6% Israeli Exports to Finland 50.4 47.8 -5.1% Israel’s total imports from these four countries 1,526 1,594 +4.5% Israel’s total exports to these four countries 331.7 363.0 +9.4% 2019 (USD m) 2020 (USD m) % year-onyear change Source: Import figures here and export figures here. All relate to commodities and are extracted from Israel’s Central Bureau Statistics (“CBS”).
18 Using the statistics from Israel’s CBS, Israeli total exports to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland increased 9.4% in 2020 on the previous year, while Israeli imports jumped 4.5%, during the destabilizing and ongoing Corona pandemic. Israeli exports to Sweden went up the most – almost 22% - with modest jumps for Norway and Denmark. While exports to Finland fell slightly, there was, nevertheless, a 30% jump in Israeli imports from Finland. Nevertheless, numbers are only part of the story. Beyond these stats, there is a strong desire for collaborations. Ranking the world’s 60 most innovative countries, Bloomberg’s Innovation Index showed Israel and theNordiccountries tobe similarlywell placed. Israel was ranked Israel in first place for the fourth year in a row in “research and development intensity,” regaining also top spot in research concentration. Overall, across all criteria, Israel placed 7th, behind Sweden in 5th, Denmark in 6th and ahead of Finland in 8th in the report published in February 2021. “The Nordic region is rich in natural resources and in the forefront of specific sectors such as maritime, life science and technology,” says Jens Krogh Petersen, Head of Corporate in DLA Piper’s Copenhagen office. He adds: “A vast and vibrant start-up scene gives a possibility to find upcoming tech innovations and an ability to share best practice. Environmental awareness is also high in the region which gives a high focus on renewable energy, such as wind, solar and hydro power. The Nordic region is also financially prosperous and a region of 27 million people. The governments support innovation through a range of different measures and support schemes available to the start-ups.” This leads to a natural partnership with Israel. Deborah Koplovitz, head of the Nordic practice at law firm Herrick, agrees. “We believe there are numerous opportunities for Nordic and Israeli partnership, not just because the UN’s SDGs favor partnerships, but because these countries all share reliance upon and familiarity with quasiGovernmental organizations such as Innovation Norway, Innovation Fund Denmark, and Vinnova in Sweden, whose aims are all to foster innovation and provide funding for their domestic companies.” “Just like Israel, Sweden is one of the world’s most innovative countries and has a large number of start-ups and unicorns per capita,” added Joanna Many common values and moving in a positive direction Israel and the Nordics are natural partners Many common values and moving in a positive direction
19 Boquist, the newly appointed head of the Tel Aviv office of Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Authority. “Vinnova’s mission is to open up for innovation that makes a difference in a sustainable world. My work in Israel will be about connecting two of the world’s leading innovation ecosystems. An important priority will be to increase the knowledge about Sweden as an attractive innovation partner, and vice versa. Sweden has a very vibrant high-tech community, and we hope to work closely with the Israel Innovation Authority in creating greater cooperation and collaborations.” “Swedish multinational corporations are global and a great gateway to international markets,” Boquist adds. “Israeli start-ups have solutions and Swedish MNC’s have the challenges. As such, we have seen these Swedish MNCs, such as Volvo and IKEA, buying Israeli start-ups.” Last November, Stockholm-based multinational Volvo returned to Israel – for a fourth time – with a USD 2 million in Israel-based Spectralics, represented by the law firm Pearl Cohen. “I worked with Volvo back in 2016 when I took them on a fact-finding trip to Israel, their heads were spinning that the whole industry was in Israel,” added Roberth Friedman, Country Manager for Sweden at Israel’s Ministry of Economy & Industry. “They said to me, ‘we want to be in Israel’ and since then Volvo has invested 4 times in Israel.” They are not alone. According to Friedman: “Nordic banks are interested. We do tech scouting for a number of companies, and they come to me saying ‘we are looking for x or y, what can you find for me in Israel?’ We have Volvo Group Venture Capital investing, but also ‘pure’ VCs are also interested, we also know Israeli VCs who want to invest in Sweden.” In December, mobilityXlab, co-founded by Volvo, as well as other leading Swedish firms, CEVT, Ericsson, Veoneer and Zenuity, received the Trade Award 2021 from the Israel Sweden Chamber of Commerce. These partners have all joined to be the global game changers within the field of future mobility. In August 2021, Ingka Group, which owns 389 IKEA stores and e-commerce operations in 32 countries, acquired a minority stake in Jifiti, an Israeli fintech start-up. Koplovitz of Herrick adds: “We see tremendous potential in the Fintech sector, as Israel has raised USD 2.3 billion in H1 2021 alone, and Sweden, for example, which aims to be completely cash-free by 2023, also produced a leading international fintech company, Klarna.” Smart mobility is a vibrant field of collaboration
20 In renewable energy,DLAPiper supportedEnlight,a Tel Aviv public company, as it invested in the ready-to-build Björnberget wind park project in central Sweden, one of the largest wind projects in Europe. The project reached financial close in May 2021. Meanwhile, Israeli wave energy company, Eco Wave Power, which has developed technology to convert wave power into electricity, is traded in Sweden on theNASDAQFirst North Stock Exchange. Underlining Israel’s innovation also in the healthcare sector – Surgical Science Sweden bought Simbionix, the surgical simulation and training company, from 3D Systems for USD 305 million, with Israeli law firm EBN advising the Swedish buyer, with Winston Strawn, while Gornitzky & Co. and Hunton Andrews Kurth represented the seller. Together, Vinnova, Business Sweden, the Swedish Trade and Invest Council, and the Swedish Embassy in Israel have launched a collaborative partnership with Israel and Tel Aviv-based non-profit organization Startup Nation Central (SNC), to promote innovative research and development projects. As part of the joint initiative, called The Connector, is a matchmaking event connecting Swedish and Israeli companies and will aim to catalyze joint market-oriented, innovative R&D projects between the two countries. The initiative is open to start-ups at all stages, multinational corporations that operate in both Sweden and Israel, large companies, research institutions, and academics. Israel andFinlandare alsoboth leading innovation economieswith technology and entrepreneurship at their core, leading to the potential for greater collaborations between Helsinki and Tel Aviv. “It was great that Israeli imports from Finland grew over 30% between 2019 and 2020, that is a record number! In Finland, there is aMoUconcerning industrial R&Dand aMoUabout technology piloting between Helsinki and the Israel Innovation Authority. Our plan is to revitalize these in 2022,” says Sami Jääskeläinen, Counsellor in Trade and Investment, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Finland. “Israel has always been very strong B2B ecosystem, and I think that Finnish B2C solutions could have plenty of opportunities in Israel to complement the ecosystem,” he adds. Israel and Sweden to collaborate on renewables, life science, precision agriculture, water and more The Connector - a match-making event connecting Swedish and Israeli companies The technology industry is Finland's largest export sector
Slush is a global tech and business event in Helsinki “In fact, the technology industry is Finland's largest export sector and the most significant industry, said Salla Tuominen, partner at DLA Piper in Helsinki. “Both Finland and Israel provide a good environment for start-ups and share the same interest for entrepreneurial passion and creativity. The basis for this lies in the excellent educational and academic systems and the similar positive and encouraging attitudes towards higher education in both countries,” she added. Finnish start-ups raised a record-breaking amount of venture capital investments from domestic and foreign investors in the first half of 2021 – the total amount of last year's investments has already been exceeded in the early part of the year alone. The good fundraising years of Finnish venture capital funds indicates that further growth in investment activity is on the horizon – and there have been a number of key transactions. “DoorDash’s acquisition of Finland’s Wolt [Wilson Sonsini and Allen & Overy advised, while Israeli law firm EBN advised DoorDash on the Israeli aspects] is probably the latest notable transaction. Israel has been one of the best performing markets for Wolt and 83North was one the largest investors bringing good returns to them. Also Playtika, in the gaming sector, did their second acquisition from Finland, at the end of August, when they bought Finland-based mobile apps company Reworks Oy for USD 600 million,” points out Sääskeläinen. More collaborations are expected – on the back of some outstanding technology events held in Finland. For example, Slush is an international technology and growth business event held annually in Helsinki, Finland, since 2008. The event aims to connect start-ups and investors. To put Slush in global context, it gatheredover 1,700 investors globally representing close to USD 1 trillion in AUM in total. That makes Slush one of the largest gatherings of venture capital in the world in 2021 and one of the biggest VC events ever, anywhere. It’s important to remember that Slush is not only Finnish, Nordic or European event as its participants are coming all over the world. Moreover, the leading technology event in the Nordic countries, Teknologia 22, will be held in Helsinki, Finland, in May 2022. The theme of the event is Solutions for Sustainable Future. In technology, Finland shines. Finland ranks among the strongest markets in healthcare technology in the world, with digital health among its largest highFinland: Among the strongest markets in healthcare technology
22 Finland and Israel share very similar structure in their healthcare systems We leverage Finnish capacities in smart grids, energy storage, hydrogen economy and waste-to-energy tech exports. Finland is one of the first countries in the world to set up a national digital patient data repository covering both the public and private healthcare sectors. 100%population penetration in electronic health records make Finnish health data unique in terms of breadth and depth. “Digital Health, and especially secondary use of data supported by AI/ML related solutions, is one of the key verticals. Finland and Israel share very similar structure in their healthcare systems: it is a world class, universal, centralized, digitalized, public sector driven and therefore all residents are entitled to basic health care as a fundamental right,” says Sääskeläinen. “TheFinnishbiotechnologyandespeciallyhealth technology sector havegrown in the recent years. The interest and capital from angel investors can be partly explained by the Covid-19 pandemic. The biotechnology sector has great prerequisites in Finland because of the rich natural resources and encouraging atmosphere for research,” add DLA Piper’s Tuominen. There is a digital health innovation collaboration between Finland and Israel, launched in 2019. This initiative is led by Israel Innovation Authority and Helsinki Business Hub and its goal is to help Israeli and Finnish companies to collaborate with each other's. “Israel has groundbreaking technologies and on the other hand, Finland has very progressive health policies and is situated as one of the global leaders in healthcare technology. Combining these, and also, connecting entrepreneurs and scientists from both countries makes this initiative important regarding commercial relationship between Israel and Finland,” points out Tuominen. “The Israeli energy sector is undergoing substantial developments – mainly around the reform of the electricity sector and renewables targets. We cooperate with both sides to leverage Finnish capacities in areas such as smart grids, energy storage, hydrogen economy and waste-to-energy,” adds Alon Gold, Senior Advisor in Trade and Economic Affairs at the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv. “Cleantech expertise in Finland is advanced especially in the field of renewable energy, recycling, food solutions and clean water. Many Finnish companies are sort of pioneers in the cleantech sector, for example Neste, Fortum, or even more traditional steel companies like Outokumpu. This is partly because of
23 We hope to see more projects unfold in climate tech and energy Denmark and Israel: A surprising match but a perfect fit the Finnish Government’s ambitious climate policy, which is supported by the economic life of Finland,” adds Tuominen. “When looking at more traditional industries, Nokia is well established in Israel, KONE was selected to equip escalators and elevators to Tel Aviv’s Light Rail Line in Israel and Konecranes has delivered plenty of equipment and systems to new smart port; Port South in Ashdod, to name just a few,” adds Sääskeläinen. “Also, the telecoms industry is going through changes which are related to fighting climate change and preserving the environment. At the beginning of 2021, Finland announced a strategy which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the telecoms sector by fully benefitting from the possibilities created by digitalization,” states Tuominen. “Denmark and Israel, in some ways, are a surprise but also a perfect match and fit,” said Lasse Vinther-Grønning, Executive Director of Innovation Center Denmark (“ICDK”), which has been building bridges between research and business and establishing partnerships in Israel since its foundation in 2016. “There are so many similarities,” he adds. “Both have evolved from a social democratic foundation into a knowledge-based economy; both have invested heavily in R&D and champion new knowledge and innovation – such as climate, life sciences and cyber. For example, Denmark has arguably been the country that has invested mostly in sustainability and sustainable projects, and we see that Israel ismoving in that direction.With the newgovernment,we hope to see more projects unfold in climate tech and energy.” Petersen of DLA Piper agrees: “We believe that Israel and Denmark have a lot in common. Danes value strong business relationships and are known as Europe’s easiest place for doing business. We have a productive, motivated workforce and a cost-efficient and flexible labor market. Besides that we have a favorable tax climate, well-connected infrastructure and a world-class R&D and innovative environment.” “Israel should consider Denmark a first destination in Europe. If they want to set up a company, there are many advantages,” adds Vinther-Grønning. “More and more Israeli start-ups are looking here because there is predictability, the political system is stable. Like Israel, we also have a well-educated workforce, and Copenhagen’s airport is fast becoming a major European hub.”
24 “There are many public R&D programs that Israeli companies can get access to if they are present inDenmark.There are huge sums available, especially in fields such as climate tech. Also, Danes don’t believe in bureaucracy and hierarchies. One of the best things about Denmark is if youwant to set up a sister company, there is no bureaucracy here at all. Everything is more seamless, digitized, and runs more smoothly. There is no time wasted on administration and it is a far more well-oiled machine here. That is definitely a plus!” “We see a number of Israeli VCs looking at Denmark, to do joint funds or invest in Danish climate tech start-ups. This is presently one of the key areas where the money is. There is movement in the VC community here that wants to see more investment in that field and Denmark is a superpower in green and cleantech.” The value of Norway’s exports to Israel has increased over the years. 70%of the salmon and 30% of all imported fish comes from Norway, while Israel is exporting technology, vegetables, and fruits to Norway. “It is a statedpriority by the Norwegian Government to increase cooperation with Israel, within trade, science, tech, innovation and development,” says Siren Skalstad Ellensen, partner at DLA Piper in Oslo. “The Norwegian Pension Fund Global, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, has invested NOK 11.9 billion (appx. USD 1.3 billion) in shares (84 companies) in Israel, and an additional NOK 1 billion is invested in fixed income (as per early 2020). These are the fund’s largest investments in the Middle East region,” she adds. “Both Norway and Israel are considered as innovative countries with financial stabilityandinvestingmuchinAI/technology/innovations,includinghavingafocus on venture and entrepreneur companies within tech and creative segments. In particular, the tech and R&D environment in Norway, including telecom, biotech, maritime and cleantech have attracted Israeli investors/entrepreneurs. Also, Norway holds natural recourses within renewable energy sources (cleantech solutions) and themaritime sector (fish, fish oil, krill etc). In Norway the political focus is as of date on development of new legislation to meet new industries such as offshore wind (transition from O&G segment to Norway’s priority is to increase cooperation with Israel There are huge sums available, especially in fields such as climate tech A number of Israeli VCs are looking at Denmark – a superpower in green and cleantech
25 Much to learn from one another offshore wind), hydrogen, solar, batteries, data centers etc, in order to reduce emission of CO2 and to increase the electricity need in the country. There should be huge opportunities in this, though the challenge is the time frame – the changes need to be implemented fast,” points out Ellensen. Koplovitz added: “Already a world leader in the EVmarket, Norway also has interesting companies such as Morrow Batteries, which is positioning itself as an international leader in sustainable and affordable battery technology.” Renewable energy is driving someof thedeals.Azrieli Group (representedby DLA Piper), Israel's largest real estate company, with a market cap of some NIS 30 billion, bought Green Mountain for NIS 2.3 billion. Green Mountain operates three server farms in Norway, with the Norwegian data centers market enjoying high rates of growth thanks to the availability of electricity produced from environmentally friendly sources, as well as electricity costs that are among the lowest in Europe. Sustainability and the environment could well be at the heart of the relationship with Norway. In September 2021, Israeli public company Israel Corp., controlled by Idan Ofer, announced it was buying 15% of Norwegian aquaculture company AKVA Group, traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange, in order toaccelerategrowth in sustainable foodproductionanddevelopAKVA's technological leadership within the aquaculture or aquafarming industry. With a range of innovative industries holding great potential for collaborations, Israel and the Nordic countries have much to gain and learn from one another. “We like to see how Israeli entrepreneurs are doingwhat they are doing, how they scale their business really fast so that we can learn and apply that to Danish processes,” says Vinther-Grønning. “It is also the differences in culture that help bring the business and create lasting change,” added Eitan Kuperstoch, Head of the Israel Economic Missions to both the Netherlands and the Nordics. “Many who have made money from start-ups, want to build unicorns, they want to build the new Ericsson, Teva, and so on. Israelis need to learn how to create the big corporate structure and build big organizations. In that sense, Swedes, for example, are very good at that and building consensus,” he added. “At the beginning of a business relationship, it is important to note that Finns tend to be reserved and prefer to keep things professional.However, Finn's value Building relationships will be key
26 VINNOVA Sweden’s Innovation Authority, with 200 people in its Stockholm, Brussels, Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv offices. INNOVATION CENTER DENMARK Builds bridges between research and business. We help develop business models and establish partnerships in Israel, giving access to world leading knowledge on how to transfer scientific research into commercial and scalable solutions. BUSINESS FINLAND Its purpose is to accelerate innovations in Finland by providing different funding instruments, as well as promoting Finnish companies and creating relationships abroad. FINLAND-ISRAEL TRADE ASSOCIATION (FITA) An association with a mission to generate benefits to parties engaging in bilateral trade between Finland and Israel.Main advantages created by the association are related to networking between company representatives. NORWEGIAN ISRAELI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The largest andmost importantcommerceorganization inNorway,facilitating business and building relationships between Norway and Israel, including related to networking between company and entrepreneur representatives. strong relationships, also in business, and developing such a relationship means a lot for the future endeavours,” says Tuominen. “Norwegian culture is quite common with the other Nordic countries,” points out Skalstad Ellensen. “The culture may seem a bit reserved, though friendly and honest, structure, being on time and professional behaviour in all relationships/investments will always be preferred, including to be humble in negotiations.” “The Israelis dare todream, aremore courageous, anddreamof the global market from day 1,” says Vinther-Grønning. Kuperstoch agrees. “Israelis do think globally from day one, but this is often about the U.S. The Nordics are four very different, creative and innovative countries with cutting-edge industries that complement all the things Israel do.” With shared values, cutting-edge innovation, VC interest and common business objectives, the Nordic countries warrant greater attention. And they are rightfully beginning to get it. Israelis dare to dream Key Bodies to be aware of:
27 Could you give us a brief overview of what your organization focuses on? Founded in 2016, Innovation Center Denmark directly connects companies to other companies. We also like to see how Israeli entrepreneurs are doing what they are doing, how they scale their business really fast so that we can learn and apply this also to Danish processes. What should Israeli entrepreneurs or investors know about doing business in Denmark? Denmark and Israel in some ways are a surprise but a perfect match and fit. There are so many similarities. Both have evolved from a social democratic foundation into a knowledge-based economy; both have invested heavily in R&D and champion new knowledge and innovation – such as climate, life sciences and cyber. For example, Denmark has been one of the countries that has invested most in sustainability and sustainable projects, and we do see that Israel is moving in that direction.With the new government, hope to see more projects unfold in climate tech and energy. One of the best things about Denmark is if you want to set up a sister company, there is no bureaucracy here at all. Everything is more seamless, digitized, and runs more smoothly. There is no time wasted on administration and it is a far more well-oiled machine here. That is definitely a plus! Furthermore, the way both Danes and Israelis communicate are similar. Danes don’t believe in bureaucracy and hierarchies, and as such, both Danes and Israelis speak plainly, frankly and directly. A romance on the cards? Israel should consider a first destination in Europe. If they want to set up a company, there are advantages. More and more Israeli start-ups are looking here because there is predictability and stability, the political system is stable, there are many public R&D programs that Israeli companies can get access to if they are present in Denmark. There are huge sums available, especially in fields such as climate tech and sustainability. Just an hour behind Israel, we also have a well-educated workforce and Copenhagen airport is growing fast as a European hub. We spoke to Lasse Vinther-Grønning, Executive Director of Innovation Center Denmark.
28 Where have you seen the most interest, activity, or momentum? We see a number of Israeli VCs looking at Denmark, to do joint funds or invest in Danish climate tech start-ups. This is presently one of the key areas where the money is. There is movement in the VC community here that wants to see more investment in that field and Denmark is a superpower in green and cleantech. Do you liaise with the Israel Innovation Authority and in what capacity? The IIA is a close partner of ours, we collaborate in different ways, and with global organizations, such as Eureka.We have joint calls for R&D projects, we work together with them to find funding for joint projects. There is a sister organization in Denmark – called Innovation Fund Denmark. What are the best ways to overcome challenges that arise? I think the right way is to foster good healthy relationships and collaborations through direct open communication. Israelis should keep in mind that Danes can see through any self-marketing and over-exaggeration. Danes like concrete and to focus on substance. What do you think is the Israeli way? The Israelis dare to dream, they are more courageous, they dream of the global market from day 1. Danes are more cautious and want to make sure they examine all the risks before they go forwards. We want to think more globally from day 1, there is a strong regional market in the EU, obviously, but we want to emulate the Israeli way to a large extent. Israelis work hard day and night and obtain big money for big projects faster, often from U.S. investors, and we are trying to do similar. What can Israelis learn from Danes? Danes are excellent planners for the long-term, like a goat walking up a mountain, they will reach the peak, slowly and steadily but they get there. Israelis could plan more effectively with regards to the long term. Check out any potential events and reach out to ICD via the website at https://israel.um.dk/en/innovation-centre
29 What commercial or investment agreements are in place between Israel and Finland? Finland is part of the EU internal market and therefore the EU-Il association Agreement and annexes are the main trade policy background. In addition, Finland and Israel have a double taxation treaty. There is a MoU concerning industrial R&D and a MoU about technology piloting between Helsinki and the Israel Innovation Authority, but these have not really been utilized since 2019 due to the lack of government budgets in Israel. Now that situation has changed, our plan is to revitalize these in 2022! In terms of the level of talent, creativity, technological or entrepreneurial passion, where are the similarities? Great question! Both countries have plenty of great technical universities producing highly talented engineers and developers. I see that we also have a high level of creativity but where in Israel it has lot of emphasis in creative problem solving, Finns are perhaps more famous in design and user-friendly solutions. Which sectors have attracted Israeli entrepreneurs or businesses? Finland has done an excellent job in the secondary use of data in Social and Healthcare and I believe that there are many interesting avenues in knowledge sharing and business opportunities between Israel and Finland. We are organizing plenty of activities in 2022 to connect Finnish health institutions with Israelis regarding R&D collaboration, and also Finnish digital health growth companies with Israeli investors, health companies and other stakeholders. So watch this space! Also, I hope that in near future we will see massive uptick in Finnish CleanTech solutions that will raise lot of interest among Israeli investors and entrepreneurs as now it’s time to act strongly in environmental matters to tackle the climate crises! We caught up with Sami Jääskeläinen, Counsellor, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Finland, and Alon Gold, Senior Advisor in Trade and Economic Affairs at the Finnish Embassy in Tel Aviv.