More than 300 companies listed on Desert Tech’s first map

More than 300 Israeli startups are developing technologies specifically suited or potentially suitable for desert conditions, according to DeserTech and Start-Up Nation Central’s first annual report released on Monday.

Highlighting that more than 2 billion people live in deserts and drylands that cover approximately 40% of the earth’s surface, and that Israel is one of the few countries in the world that has succeeded in reversing desertification with innovative solutions, the report analyzes companies specializing in in agriculture, energy, water management and infrastructure.

It aims to demonstrate the power and potential of Israel to solve the problems of the desert.

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According to the report, of the 303 startups identified, 66 are primarily focused on solving desertification problems.

Over the past five years, 22 of these 66 companies have raised $374 million. Most of them are active in the agriculture and infrastructure sectors and are at an early stage of development.

On the other hand, half of the water and renewable energy companies are at an advanced stage of development. They mainly focus on smart irrigation and construction solutions for the desert environment.

50,000 “heliostat” mirrors surround a solar tower in the Negev desert near Ashelim, southern Israel, December 22, 2016. (AP/Oded Balilty) #

The report highlights the central role that the Negev region can play in the development of desert technology, given the dozens of basic and applied research institutes and the many incubators and accelerators built in recent years.

In addition, the “Innovation District” under construction in the Negev’s largest city, Beersheba, connects sectors such as academia, high-tech industry, research hospitals and IDF intelligence units, and represents a “promising first step” towards transforming the city into a “entrepreneurial metropolis”.

About 17% of DeserTech startups are from the Negev, which is higher than 2-3% of all startups in the country.

DeserTech was created by the Mirage Israel Foundation, the Israel Innovation Institute, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva.

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