Israeli-based companies find a home in Arizona

When two nations come together on trade and diplomacy it’s something to praise. But, it’s an even bigger story when a state partners with an entire country. Case in point, Arizona, which has been developing partnerships with a number of countries, including Israel.

Last May, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce U.S.-Israel Business Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding. The partnership represents a common focus on supporting economic and commercial ties between our state and the entire nation of Israel. Since the partnership was announced, more Israel-based companies have moved from their home desert in the Middle East to our own desert here in Arizona.

Take electric aviation startup Eviation, which set up shop this summer to develop self-flying airplane technology in the pines of Prescott. Eviation zeroed-in on Prescott, because of its place in the aerospace industry and proximity to Embry-Riddle, and because it’s an “optimal location for its U.S. headquarters given the area’s skilled workforce and high-density altitude” according to a company press release.

And speaking of altitude and climate, it’s Arizona’s diverse landscape that garnered attention from CropX, an agri-tech company based in Israel that focuses on developing more agricultural output through the power of big data, machine learning and cutting-edge cloud-based software.

CropX, which started up in 2014 in its home country, slipped into the smart farming space by using the Internet of Things and intensive analytics to improve farming. The company is testing out its tech throughout the United States, including here in Arizona. CropX divided a 114-acre alfalfa field into slices. Half of the field was irrigated by traditional practices, and the other half was tended to by CropX’s technology. The results were significant.

The results show 40 percent savings in water without any negative effect on the yield,” explains Erica Camilo, of CropX. “In addition, with CropX the growing cycle was accelerated – this can potentially allow another cycle during the year and increase annual production by 10 percent.”

Arizona is a perfect spot for CropX to test out its sensors. Ultimately what it does is tell farmers when they need to water and when they don’t. It’s cost-effective, especially across huge acreages as noted above, and can save farmers lots of money over time.

Aviation, agritech, and general economic initiatives aren’t the only things binding Arizona and Israel together. Keter Plastics, another Israeli-based tech company, just leased two buildings in Gilbert for manufacturing and warehousing. The company makes and sells resin-based household and garden products.

The real estate deal included the sale of more than 323,000 square feet of space in the Fiesta Tech Center near Country Club and Baseline Roads, close to the Mesa border. Keter plans to pump nearly $6 million in renovations at the site and develop its plastic injection molding there.

As a whole, relations between Israel and Arizona are strengthening, especially in terms of potential business and economic plans.

“There are a lot of market opportunities here in Arizona, especially in tech, and it’s relatively unknown in the Israeli market,” explains Leib Bolel, President and CEO of Arizona Israel Technology Alliance.

The push behind Israeli companies setting up shop here may act as a template for other industries within the nation and other nations to take advantage of the market opportunities in Arizona.

“We are going to see more tech companies come. But there are other companies [from Israel] that are going to be announced that are beyond the tech spectrum. This will continue as the profile of Arizona grows in Israel,” adds Bolel.

Nick Esquer

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