WSB Money Matters, August 31, 2004
Atlanta Business Ties to Israel

(WSB Money Desk - Exclusive) -- A meeting this week in Atlanta highlighted growing business ties between Israel and Atlanta. WSB Money Reporter Mike Kavanagh says it's not a well known fact that Israeli companies have a large presence in the Southeast. However, the region is actually one of the top five centers for Israeli companies setting up operations in the United States, with Atlanta at the center of that activity.

For example, an Israeli company known as Proneuron has developed a potential experimental therapy for restoring spinal cord functions. They've set up a facility here in Atlanta to help people regain use of their motor functions after spinal injuries. The relationship also works in the other direction, with Israeli venture capital funds providing seed money for U.S. technology and biotechnology ventures, such as Atlanta based ClickFox.

In an exclusive interview with WSB, Jonathan Medved, general partner of Jerusalem-based Israel Seed Partners told Mike Kavanagh "There are almost sixty (60) Israeli companies that set up shop in Atlanta. Most of the work is going on through the help of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce." Medved went on to say he is visiting Atlanta primary to let business people here know "how dynamic Israeli technology has been over the past few years. From 2000 to 2003 Israel has more than doubled its share of the venture capital market worldwide. Israel has emerged, perhaps outside of Silicon Valley, as the most important source of global innovation (in technology)."

The record is impressive according to the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, which says in the past 12 years it has been involved in transactions valued at more than $700 million dollars between U.S. and Israeli companies. The AICC says those relationships have resulted in thousands of jobs and have hand a powerful economic impact here in the Southeast and in Israel.

Part of Medved's trip is also to get business leaders here interested in technologies being developed in Israel. "We need to find partners to help us get these technology innovations to market. A lot of Israeli companies see Atlanta as a great place to open up their U.S. operations."

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