Binational Fund to Invest $7.3 Million in Joint U.S.-Israeli Innovation Projects

The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation announced that it would invest $7.3 million in eight new American-Israeli innovation projects, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The BIRD Foundation was established by the United States and Israeli governments in 1977 and has invested nearly $350 million in some 974 projects since its creation. The resulting sales of products developed by companies receiving investments have exceeded $10 billion.

The new investments will be directed towards projects in the fields of educational technology, agricultural technology, energy, digital health, medical devices, and homeland security. Together with the grants, the projects will gain access to additional private sector funding, raising the total available to the selected projects to over $20 million.

“Today, what’s nice to see is that US companies do not see Israeli companies only as a source of innovation, but actually see a complementarity of innovation,” the executive director of the BIRD Foundation, Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, explained.

“The Israeli eco-system has matured considerably, and today you see cases where more mature Israeli companies are looking at US start-ups, which is a reverse model of the BIRD Foundation’s original rationale in the 1970s and 1980s. One of our core values is that the benefit must be mutual, even if different.”

Among the projects selected for the latest round of funding by the BIRD Foundation are the development of a pipeline disaster prevention system, Upstream by Petah Tikva-based 4Cast Systems and Montana-based Adelos; a platform for testing cybersecurity readiness developed by Ramat Gan-based HackerU and New York-based Just Greens; and the design and manufacture of a Surround Vision Scope by Netanya-based Mitos Medical and Maryland-based Fibertech Medical.

“It’s satisfying to see how varied the projects submitted to the BIRD Foundation are, with diversity in sectors, size of US companies and their geographical location enhancing BIRD’s impact for the mutual benefit of the US and Israel,” said Dr. Phillip Singerman, a co-chairman of BIRD’s Board of Governors.

BIRD Foundation funds up to half of a project’s budget, starting from research and development and ending with the beginning stages of marketing. If the product is successful, the foundation gets repaid through royalties.

In recent years, the BIRD Foundation has invested in projects to develop unmanned search and rescue systems, and to develop software, adapted from Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, to prevent shutdowns of power plants.

[Photo: Maj Stephanie Addison / WikiCommons ]