BIRD Foundation: Funding Israeli-American Collaborations

BIRD Foundation: Funding Israeli-American Collaborations

November 7, 2007

CHICAGO - “ BIRD is an acronym for the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research & Development Foundation. It was established by the U.S. and Israeli governments in 1977 to generate mutually beneficial cooperation between U.S. private-sector companies and Israeli high-tech industries.

BIRD provides both matchmaking services between U.S. and Israeli companies and funding for qualifying projects. This funding covers up to 50 percent of project development and product commercialization costs up to $1 million.

The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any rights to them from the participating companies. The financial assistance provided by the foundation is repaid only by the royalties generated by sales.

The foundation offers support of up to 50 percent of a project's budget starting with R&D and continuing through the initial stages of sales and marketing. The foundation shares the risk and does not require repayment of its investment if the project fails to reach the sales stage.

It requires no equity in the companies supported and no intellectual property rights in their technologies. The foundation does not interfere in formulating or managing the relationship between the partnering companies.

Any pair of companies (one Israeli and one American) may jointly apply for BIRD support so long as they have the combined capability and infrastructure to define, develop, manufacture, market, sell and support an innovative product based on industrial R&D.

Israel has become a hotbed of innovation and new ideas. This is apparent in many areas such as networking, security, wireless technology, homeland security, biotechnology, medical devices and more. Per capita, Israel has the highest number of start-up companies in the world.

In absolute terms, Israel is second only to the U.S. both in the number of start-up companies (3,500) and the highest number of listed companies on the NASDAQ. Amazingly, Israel (a country with 7 million residents) attracts twice the amount of venture capital investments as the whole of Europe.

BIRD has funded numerous projects between Israeli and Illinois companies over the years. Illinois companies that recently received funding for joint development projects include Molex, Motorola, Amcol International and Solomon Colors.

As part of its services, BIRD will assist U.S. companies in identifying technologies and innovation in Israel as well as by offering funding for collaborations. Our request for repayment is based solely on actual revenues generated and demonstrates our commitment and willingness to share in the risk.

As part of the foundation's constant search for innovation and business opportunities in U.S. and Israeli partnerships, it is open to projects in new areas.

In addition to the well-established areas of communications, electronics, life sciences, software and more recently homeland security, BIRD is interested in emerging fields such as nanotechnology, alternative energy, water and environmental technologies.

BIRD will consider funding risky projects as long as the U.S. and Israeli partner companies can demonstrate sound capabilities and proven access to the market. The foundation will share the risk with the companies and is ultimately rewarded by fostering fruitful partnerships that result in successfully commercialized products.

For additional information, please contact Limor Nakar-Vincent (the east coast and Midwest representative of the BIRD Foundation) at [email protected] or 312-923-1095.