Ashdod Port Company's Board of Directors decided to directly invest in a variety of startups that will be selected as part of the technological incubator that the company is establishing. This step is revolutionary among Israel's ports and will serve as a future growth engine for the company, which is preparing for increased competition with the opening of two new ports.
This decision allows for investment in technological companies in the blue-tech field and it will make Ashdod Port a shareholder in the startup companies, with the number of shares held dependent on the amount of the investment. The company's Board of Directors approved in the first phase investment in startups in an amount of up to 10 million shekels in 2022.
Ashdod Port's objective is to invest in startup companies at an early stage. The port will make investments in companies that offer strategic and logistical technological solutions that will be useful to Ashdod Port in the areas of operations, cyber, energy, security and more.
Government-owned companies in Israel and around the world already understood the importance of integrating innovation and technology in their daily operations. Collaboration between startups and government-owned companies constitutes is a national interest and it is part of an overall process that has both business and societal benefits. Aside from the economic investment in their platform, the startup companies are given an opportunity to test and implement their technologies, whereas the companies and the public will reap the benefits that will result from this collaboration.
Among the main conditions of the plan that was approved by Ashdod Port's Board of Directors: The option to hold up to 20% of a startup's shares through investment in a company whose primary activity and objectives relate to the port's core operations, in a manner that is consistent with the port's innovation plan. It was also decided that the startup must have an existing product or technology, or one that is at least in pilot phases; whereas the purpose of the investment is to ultimately implement the technology at Ashdod Port. Each startup that is reviewed will undergo valuation and the economic feasibility of investment in the company will be examined.
Orna Hozman Bechor, Chairman of the Board of Ashdod Port added: “We feel like we breached the dam into a developing world of technology and innovation, as we continue to gallop forward with the approval of direct investment of 10 million shekels in select startups. Ashdod Port's Board of Directors approved an extraordinary step of integrating technologies in the port's daily operations, while offering dozens of startup companies an opportunity to be the next success story. We have become trailblazers, leading the way for other ports; and we intend to be leaders in the field of technological innovation. Direct investment in startups is just one more step in implementing the strategy that will make Ashdod Port competitive as an innovative and efficient port, while offering an international level of service."
Unlike other ports in Israel and globally, the field of innovation and technology is not foreign for Ashdod Port, which has been working hard for the last two years to integrate over 40 startups in the company's daily activities. The company also recently published a tender to select an international accelerator. The company that is selected will create an incubator for ten additional startups. The corporate investments will be a welcome addition to the ambitious innovation program that has brought Ashdod Port to a good starting position as it prepares for the opening of two private ports and a more competitive industry.
Orna Hozman-Bechor, Chairperson of the board. Photo: Ronen Akerman