There is no human need more basic than water. We simply can’t survive without it. I talked about Charity:Water in a previous post, but today my focus is on agtech.
This week water has been on my mind for several reasons. One is the sale of Israel’s Netafim, the company that invented drip irrigation, to Mexichem for $1.5 billion. Netafim’s technology essentially enables farmers to “grow more with less”, increasing yields and improving crop production while preserving quality and quantity of water and soil fertility. The story of Netafim is profiled in the Coller Venture Review issue on deep innovation.The second reason is connected to Philanthropy. Jeff Bezos asked the world how he should donate his money on Twitter. He got more than 46,000 responses, but that created a new problem: how can he sift through all the answers, create themes and understand which ones would be most impactful. That’s where AI came into the picture in the form of Unanimous.ai, a startup specialising in a form of advanced decision making called swarm intelligence, which essentially emulates the behaviour of a bee swarm to come up with the most complete community decision. Read more about this fascinating methodology here. Bottom line is, after a rigorous process which included human evaluators ranking 6 choices at a time, a winner was clearly chosen. You guessed it: Universal Access to Clean Water topped the list.
Israel is a hotbed for agtech in general, and water tech more specifically. It came from a necessity: a small country with limited fresh water supply, Israel needed to figure out how to desalinate water, save water, and irrigate the desert. Netafim started in a Kibbutz in the 1960s, but to this day, there are approximately 130 startups operating in the water space in Israel alone, and it’s a buzzing space. There’s even a dedicated Water Tech conference. You can find the full list on Startup Nation Central, but here are a few select Israeli agtech startups in the water space:
WaterGen’s cutting-edge technology provides an abundant, renewable source of fresh and clean drinking water by extracting it directly from the air. With the patented GENius, the world’s most energy-efficient atmospheric water generator (AWG) module of its kind, Water-Gen’s various water-from-air generator models can serve the clean drinking water needs from a small house to whole villages to an entire country.
Utilis technology is based on the analysis of multi-spectral, aerial images that capture the area of a suspected leak. By processing these images and applying algorithms, the system uses essential physical parameters, such as geological, meteorological, and hydrological factors. After calculating and adjusting for any distorting factors, the information is intersected with piping infrastructure layouts to indicate the location of underground water leaks.
TaKaDu’s patented technology uses raw data from multiple sources, analyzing the data to detect and manage the full life-cycle of network events, including leaks, bursts, and faulty assets.
Based on big data analytics and sophisticated algorithms, TaKaDu’s IoT cloud-based solution helps water utilities detect problems early, reduce water loss, shorten repair cycles, and improve customer service.
Indegy provides visibility and security for industrial control networks. The platform delivers comprehensive visibility and oversight into all OT activities, including changes to controller logic, configuration, and state.
Desalitech is a provider of high-recovery water production and effluent treatment solutions. The company’s ReFlex reverse osmosis (RO) systems offer maximum recovery and feature Desalitech’s patented closed-circuit desalination (CCD) process.
CCD represents an improvement in RO water treatment by achieving efficient use of water resources, reduced emission of brine waste, increased flexibility and reliability, and lower power consumption, all using standard, off-the-shelf RO components.