Abu Dhabi-based accelerator to promote female-led Israeli, MENA agritech startups

An Abu Dhabi-based desert tech venture builder is inviting women-led agritech startups from Israel, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to participate in a pilot program to bring innovative agricultural solutions to the United Arab Emirates. the challenge of food insecurity.

“We share the same climate issues and in Israel, we have many years of experience dealing with desert technology,” Shelley Shahar, Tel Aviv-based co-founder of Dana Global, told The Times of Israel. “The idea is to bring these technologies to Abu Dhabi and the UAE because they are looking for technologies to support the agri-food sector.”

“They’re in the desert, so this is something we both share,” added Shahar.

In recent years, Israel has become a desert technology hub in the fields of agriculture, energy, water and infrastructure. According to a report by DeserTech and Start-Up Nation Central, there are more than 300 Israeli start-ups developing technologies specifically aimed at or potentially adaptable to desert environments.

Founded in 2020, Dana acts as a regional venture builder and investment platform for women-led startups in desert technology focused on agriculture, food technology, water solutions and renewable energy to support farmers facing food security and waste management challenges . . David Sable is backed by US venture capitalists and supports startups through regional partnerships, mentoring and funding.

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

Illustrator: An undated image of a farmer in the western Negev inspecting a harvest of cherry tomatoes. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

“The Middle East faces a clear and present risk of food insecurity, and doing nothing is not an option,” said Dana Founder Katie Wachsberger. “Through this partnership, we can better support the incredible entrepreneurs we work with, most of whom are women in the region.”

“By complementing the beta sites we are already operating, we plan to launch new pilots and collect vital data to foster ecosystem growth and encourage entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality,” he added.

As part of the joint venture between Dana and Silal, 10 startups from Israel and the MENA region will be selected annually to participate in a program for agricultural projects in the fields of salinity, irrigation, crop optimization, post-harvest and supply. chain, pest management, fertilization and efficiency of systems.

“We are sourcing from Israel to ensure that the technologies chosen provide solutions to the most pressing needs and we will also conduct due diligence on startups,” said Shahar, Dana’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Silal’s collaboration is providing the right platform for startups working in desert technologies to scale.”

Collaboration The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, recently announced that more than 141 million people in Arab countries are at risk of food insecurity, Dana noted.

The Dana program works with pre-seed startups in the MENA region, coordinating proof-of-concept and feasibility testing in beta sites. The regional desert technology accelerator is currently working with six companies from the UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Territories to address climate sustainability in the desert.

Pakistani-American leaders discuss desert agrotechnology at Shaar HaNegev Regional Council, September 19, 2022 (Sharaka)

Israeli startups in Dana’s cohort include Dayts, a foodtech startup that has developed a solution to turn date waste into clean-label functional ingredients for the food and beverage industry; and Viridix, developer of an AI-powered precision irrigation system.

“The most promising candidates from Dana’s portfolio of companies will move on to later pilots within Silal’s program offering,” said Dana.

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