Agritech: Abu Dhabi accelerator to promote female start-ups in Israel

An Abu Dhabi-based company specializing in desert technologies is inviting women-led agribusiness start-ups in Israel, the Middle East and North Africa to participate in a pilot program aimed at bringing innovative agribusiness solutions to United Arab Emirates to help address the great challenge of food insecurity.

“We share the same climate issues and in Israel we have many years of experience engaging with technology in the desert,” said Tel Aviv-based Dana Global co-founder Shelley Shahar. Israel time. “The idea is to bring these technologies to Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates, because they are looking for technologies to support their agribusiness sector. »

“They are in the desert, so it’s something we both have in common,” added Shahar.

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In recent years, Israel has developed many technologies for the desert in the fields of agriculture, energy, water and infrastructure. According to a report by DeserTech and Start-Up Nation Central, more than 300 Israeli start-ups are developing technologies that are particularly suited or potentially suited to desert environments.

Founded in 2020, Dana acts as a regional venture capital firm and investment platform for women-led desert technology start-ups, focusing on agricultural and food technologies, water solutions and renewable energies, to help farmers facing the challenges of food security and waste management. It is backed by US venture capitalist David Sable and supports start-ups through regional collaboration, mentorship and funding.

On Monday, Dana announced a new partnership agreement with Silal, an Abu Dhabi-based agricultural technology investor, to attract agricultural technology and innovation to Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem and address challenges such as shortage on resources, local production and food security.

A net greenhouse in Los Pinos, Mexico, is the largest greenhouse tomato project in the country, developed using Israeli drip irrigation and Netafim greenhouse technology. (Courtesy: Netafim)

“The Middle East has a clear and present risk of major food insecurity, and doing nothing is not an option,” said Dana co-founder Katie Wachsberger. “Through this partnership, we will be able to better support the amazing entrepreneurs we work with – most of whom are local women. »

“In addition to the beta sites we’re already running, we plan to launch new pilots and collect valuable data to help grow the ecosystem and encourage entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality,” he said.

As part of the joint venture between Dana and Silal, 10 startups each year from Israel and across the Middle East and North Africa region will be selected to participate in a program of agricultural projects in the fields of salinity, irrigation, crops , after harvest. and supply chain optimization, pest control, fertilization and systems efficiency.

“We conduct sourcing in Israel to ensure that the selected technologies provide solutions to the most pressing needs and we will also conduct a due diligence process on the startups,” said Shahar, who is the chief strategy officer. from Dana. “The collaboration with Silal provides the right platform for startups engaged in desert technologies to grow. »

The partnership comes as International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva recently announced that more than 141 million people in Arab countries are at risk of food insecurity, Dana said in a statement.

Dana’s program works with pre-seed stage startups across the MENA region, connecting proof-of-concept and feasibility testing to beta sites. The Regional Desert Technology Accelerator is currently working with six companies from the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Territories, which are committed to climate sustainability in the desert.

Pakistani-American leaders review agricultural technologies in the middle of the desert at the Shaar HaNegev regional council on September 19, 2022. (Sharaka)

Israeli startups in Dana’s cohort include Dayts, a food tech startup that has developed a solution to make functional, clean-label ingredients for the food and beverage industry, and Viridix, a developer of AI-powered precision irrigation systems .

“The most promising candidates from Dana’s portfolio of companies will move on to the next phase pilots under Silal’s program,” Dana said.

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