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conexx Connectors Update

Medical – Ralph Jordan, Chair

Planning continues for a teleconference forum at the end of January.  The goal of the forum is to facilitate a more robust engagement between Southeast entities and Israeli companies by focusing on the cardiovascular field of “Structural Heart and Fluid Mechanics.”

At a recent committee meeting, Dr. Ajit Yoganathan, The Wallace H. Coulter, Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory explained how “structural” diseases impact heart physiology.   It is the most rapidly developing area in cardiovascular.  The Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics Lab tests minimally invasive procedures and devices.   Imaging is an important tool in this process.   Dr. Yoganathan outlined his involvement with Israeli companies (heart valve development) and an Israeli VC (Triventures) as an investor in an Irish company.  Dr. Yoganathan highlighted the innovation ecosystem including the Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics Lab (engineering), clinical at Emory University School of Medicine (as the largest center of implementation of percutaneous valves), SJTRI (animal clinical trials) and GCMI (rapid prototyping).

The Committee recommended that a series of quarterly programs be developed by a sub-committee with an overarching theme and logic thread.   The programs would focus on the current changes to the healthcare system (both policy and provision) and then feature what might be readily exportable from Israel (personalized medicine; mobile health).  The Chamber would also seek to collaborate and co-promote its programs and compliment what is already occurring in the medical space.

Professional – Greg Kirsch, Chair

Role of the Professional Committee has been broadened to develop and carry out general programming on behalf of the Chamber. Several suggestions were made for further consideration:

  • Borrow ideas from the successful Logistics Delegation visit in 2013.
  • Add more networking events to the calendar of activities.
  • Pursue programming for Next Generation Professionals.
  • Investigate opportunities for the Chamber working in new industries.

Planning is underway for the Annual Professional Seminar calendared for Thursday, August 21st at the Selig Center.

HiTech – Adam Coffsky, Chair

Committee members recently met with representatives from Google to continue to plan an I-3 (Israel, Innovation, Impact) program in March.   The topic will balance futuristic insights without compromising confidentiality but should have some here and now application for the audience.   The topic discussed was Mapping.   The program might include a presentation about Waze covering today’s innovation and a discussion of the future. Jim Dawson, Partner and Anne Yancey, Director, Sales and Local Tax, Cherry Bekaert will host the next connector meeting on February 11th.

Cleantech – Ben Taube, Chair

A Clean Energy and Summit was recently hosted by Alston Bird.  An Israeli cleantech panel was moderated by Todd Porter, H.T. Professional Executive Search and featured Yoav Zilber, Clariter, Elhay Farkash, LightApp, Tal Cohen, My Seed Tech Fund and Itay Parness, GamaSonic.

WATEC 2013, the 4th bi-annual exhibition, is Israel’s prime event for showcasing its technologies and achievements in water, environment and energy industry fields.

With water, environment and energy challenges at the top of the global agenda, WATEC 2013 featured compelling solutions and proven, practical applications in areas such as water and energy efficiency, water quality, desalination, and water supply.

Chamber members from The Coca Cola Company, Mueller Water Products, and Woodard Consulting Group participated in this world-class event in addition to AICC President & CEO Shai Robkin.

Capital Funding – Randall Foster, Chair

The Capital Funding Connector is in the midst of reviewing its focus.   There is a consensus to broaden the scope of the work in support of all opportunities for investment in American- Israel business activity.

Four planks have been identified for the committee’s core program of work:

  1. Build a community of interested parties to network around Israel investment;
  2. Education the broader community about ways to invest in Israel connected businesses:
  3. Create an awareness of investment opportunities and connect investors with a variety of vehicles;
  4. Assist individual Israeli companies seeking capital where possible.

New ideas and approaches include outreach to Family Offices and providing opportunities for Israel investment vehicles to present to the Connector and to the public.

The committee wished to identify pre-syndicated opportunities to bring to the committee.  Kfir Hazaz, Fruition Investment was invited to present.  Fruition’s unique strategy is to screen technology companies to determine which are most likely to generate the required success to reach fulfillment.  In 2012, Fruition LTD established a subsidiary in the U.S., Fruition Inc., to identify technology companies (Israel and U.S.), perform due diligence, negotiate deal structure, and create a packaged offering for investment in a technology company (Fruition TechFund).

Jonathan Medved visited Atlanta on Thursday, December 11th to 75 interested investors.  The program was hosted by Alston Bird and sponsored by HA&W.   Medved currently is the founder and CEO of OurCrowd, a new crowdfunding platform for accredited investors and angels focused on investing in Israeli startups. Our Crowd is according to Forbes (August 13 2013) “one of the largest crowdfunding organizations on the planet”  having raised over $26M for 30 portfolio companies since its launch in February 2013. Bloomberg Business week said that OurCrowd “has blown up the exclusivity around tech fundraising” and the Jerusalem Post added that “It has taken OurCrowd only a matter of months to become one of Israel’s most active funds”. TheStreet.com said that OurCrowd is “Crowdfunding for Real Investors.”.

Medved also spoke to 20 next generation Chamber members at a breakfast meeting hosted by Greenberg Traurig and sponsored by HA&W.

The Connector is always looking to expand its membership.   Those interested in participating on the Capital Funding Connector should be in touch with Randall Foster, Chair (randall.foster@focusbankers.com) or Barry Swartz (barry@conexx.org).

Logistics – March 16 – 19, 2014

Recruitment is underway to bring an Israeli delegation to the Georgia Logistics Summit and Modex (Supply Chain) to join 2000 participants from 30 States and 9 Nations.  To date we have 5 Israeli companies committed to travel to Atlanta including Zim Lines, Nipendo, CartaSense, Dykam and Starcom.  The Chamber is partnering with the Ministry of Economy U.S. Southern Region to bring companies to Memphis for a community reception and meetings with FedEx and other industry leaders.   Grant Thornton has once again agreed to host a reception on May 19th to welcome and introduce the Israeli delegation members.


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