In my podcast, I explore the many different facets of the world of high tech from development to marketing, to sales, to entrepreneurship, all with the goal of collecting key insights on startups for listeners to gain value from this knowledge-sharing. So what did I discover this week?
As scientists warn of the consequences of polluting and harmful industries and commercial practices, there are those who aim to replace the traditional linear economy, or the "take, make, use, and dispose" model. What they propose is a circular economic model, as it has been termed, that seeks to create a system in which waste is minimized and resources are continuously repurposed and reused. This approach has significant environmental and economic benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced waste, and increased resource efficiency.
Closed Loop Partners, founded by Ron Gonen, is focused on investing in and developing businesses that promote a circular economy. With a particular focus on the waste and recycling, water, and agriculture sectors, Ron and his team have made a number of successful investments in companies that are driving the transition to a circular economy. Recently, even as part of the Israel Earth Prize run by Toyota and Union, Ron served as a judge in assessing promising Israeli startups in the sustainability field, in which Israeli tech is making an even bigger splash.
Coming Full Circle
“Our firm is unique in that we were founded by a number of global companies, like Walmart PepsiCo and we had them telling us about the critical problems in their supply chains,” as Ron explains. The firm Ron began is nothing short of an iteration of a long career in the sustainability space. Ron’s extensive record goes back several decades where he has been instrumental both through the public and private sectors in helping companies and society adopt more sustainable technologies and processes.
In Closed Loop Partners, Ron is once again aiming to change up industries but this time from both an operational and financial perspective. Operationally, the Closed Loop fields professionals who have backgrounds as executives and industry leaders and understand the world of business at a functional level. Therefore, they are uniquely positioned to address major companies’, their teams, and their operations when trying to assess and implement more sustainable practices.
Additionally, Ron’s firm is also aiming to solve another pressing issue when it comes to sustainable circular economic measures - this problem being more from the financial sector. “While I was talking with the leaders and the executive teams of Pepsi, Unilever, and so on about their interest in reimagining their supply chains, becoming more sustainable, transparent and domestic, I realized just how antiquated the financial institutions can be in their thinking”, Ron highlights, “the companies were actively seeking out these opportunities while the financial services industry was saying the opposite.”
It is well known that the financial industry often is behind enterprise institutions in terms of adopting innovation and change. It comes from the fact that the financial services industry can be rooted in legacy and old models while continuing “business as usual” without doing their homework. In essence, they are not talking to the operators in the industries and understanding where they want to go and so there is a disconnect between funds, resources, and tangible action. And, that is where Closed Loop Partners comes in to change that.
Israeli Tech Scene As a Leader in the Circular Economy
Last month, Toyota and Union launched the Israel Earth Prize, with the aim of promoting environmental initiatives in Israel. With a belief that society must address the challenges in the field of sustainability and the environment, these companies invited Israeli startups and teams to present their solutions in creating a better world and society. Ron was chosen as part of the judging team to determine which startups will have the opportunity to receive support from these enterprises.
Israel’s notoriety as a green tech nation is growing. Beyond the old moniker of drip irrigation, Israeli companies in food and climate technologies have had breakthroughs that have garnered international attention. With companies like Breezometer being recently acquired by Google, it is no wonder that Ron and his team see Israel as a real hub of sustainable innovation. “We have Israeli companies in our portfolio and in Israel, which has been a leader in sustainable practices, we continue to see real innovations in sustainability,” Ron adds.