the trendlines group is a venture capital firm investing in early-stage, technology companies in israel. three years ago, the company made a strategic decision to focus one of its licensed incubators on innovation-based agricultural and food technology companies, called trendlines agtech-mofet.
nitza kardish, ph.d., ceo of trendlines agtech, is a graduate of the mikveh israel school of agriculture. she holds a doctorate in plant genetics from the weizmann institute of science where she engaged in the development of genetically engineered tobacco plants.
in subsequent years, nitza was involved in the venture capital arena in the field of medical devices.
a few years ago, she decided to return to the agricultural field, as she saw many opportunities, both from a business perspective and in the world’s demand for solutions to food production.
in an interview with nitza, she explained how trendlines agtech developed: “in order to identify research studies that had the potential for commercial development, we began with intense activity with researchers in the academic world and in the agricultural research sector.
simultaneously, we met with private entrepreneurs whose ventures matched our goals.
“to all of them, it was clear that trendlines agtech is the one and only incubator in israel whose sole focus is to invest in early-stage technologies in agriculture.
“when we started trendlines agtech, we had two main goals:
– “the first was to put ourselves on the map as an agritech incubator that is looking for knowhow which can be commercialized. it was amazing to discover the huge number of existing ventures and amount of knowledge that could be commercialized, as well as the fact that israel has about 200 research groups in various agricultural fields.
-“the second was to create an ecosystem and community of investors who recognize the opportunity and want to be a part of this growing sector that holds a lot of promise.
our shareholders are private investors who invest in our companies, together with funds that come from the office of the chief scientist of the ministry of economy as a licensed incubator in israel.
“the results of our intensive work and efforts are that in three years, we created a portfolio of 11 companies in various agriculture- and food-related fields. all have tremendous market potential.
“we also created a knowledge base. we employ specialists in different areas to assist in the development of companies: business and technology development, marketing, investment banking, and access to and assistance in establishing strategic partnerships and in finding prospective future investors.
“these companies are currently in the trendlines agtech incubator. some we commercialized from academic research and some are investments in private entrepreneurs: “catalyst agtech presents a customizable, patented technology with a “self-destruct” mechanism for use in persistent pesticides. the technology pairs an appropriate catalyst with a specific agrochemical that is then applied to the crop.
after serving its useful purpose and breaking down only after it migrates below the root zone, this catalyzed agrochemical eliminates or significantly reduces soil and groundwater contamination.
“with catalyst agtech’s technology, agrochemical companies can expand the use of active ingredients currently facing regulatory limitations and facilitate the approval of new formulations.
“after a year of operation, catalyst agtech has reached the stage of experiments in soil.
the company is currently collaborating with some large companies, and there are two venture capital funds that are in advanced stages of interest. additionally, the company won second place in the competition held at trendlines’ agrivest 2013 conference.
“edenshield has developed a nontoxic insect control product for greenhouse crops based on extracts of medicinal plants endemic to israel’s desert.
the product is applied to greenhouse screens where it masks the odor of the crop inside and lowers insect attraction. this mechanism of action does not cause the development of resistance and allows the product to maintain its efficacy throughout the entire growing season.
edenshield has completed dozens of experiments with excellent results, keeping pests out of different greenhouse crops.
this spring, edenshield will start marketing its product.
“biofishency is developing a cost-effective, all-in-one water treatment system for land-based aquaculture.
the system operates with all different aquaculture methods: extensive (land ponds), intensive (constructed ponds), and recirculated. it enables existing facilities to upgrade while continuing to use installed infrastructure and new installations to improve efficiency and yield.
biofishency overcomes the two key aquaculture challenges: limited water availability and buildup of toxic ammonia (excreted by the fish).
“the trendlines group’s mission is creating and developing companies to improve the human condition. the trendlines agtech incubator does just that.”