St. Louis Attracts Third Israeli Agtech Company in Seven Months

By June 9, 2015

Forrest final

BioSTL, the St. Louis organization advancing regional prosperity by cultivating the bioscience and innovation ecosystem, announced that Israeli agtech company Forrest Innovations has selected St. Louis as the location of its U.S. headquarters. The company’s decision represents the third success in seven months for BioSTL’s initiative targeting Israeli companies for recruitment.

Forrest Innovations is an agtech company working at the forefront of technology to address two major challenges in the outdoor environment: reducing mosquito-carried disease and overcoming a bacteria that is threatening the citrus industry’s existence.

“St. Louis is renowned for its leadership in plant science and top notch scientific personnel, offering us a wonderful opportunity for recruiting highly qualified employees. St. Louis also provides a great platform for promoting innovation and collaboration. We are very happy to become the latest members of this promising community,” said Nitzan Paldi, CEO of Forrest Innovations.

Israel, frequently referred to as the “Startup Nation,” is one of the largest sources of commercially-promising innovation in the world, particularly in agritech, medical technologies, and cyber-security – areas that match nicely with St. Louis’ strengths.  BioSTL’s St. Louis-Israel Innovation Connection (SLIIC) initiative capitalizes on the fundamental business need of many Israeli ventures to establish a U.S. presence to access markets, capital, networks and corporate partnerships.

“Although we anticipated the strengths of our St. Louis ecosystem would resonate with Israeli companies, the pace of success has exceeded all expectations,” said Donn Rubin, president and CEO of BioSTL. “It’s not surprising that our early momentum has been in agtech, an area where St. Louis shines, with remarkable corporate and research partners, talent and specialized facilities.”

Prior to Forrest Innovations’ decision, Kaiima Bio-Agritech (November) and Evogene (February) each announced establishment of their U.S. base in St. Louis.

Building on the momentum, a delegation from St. Louis, including representatives from BioSTL, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, KWS, Monsanto, Missouri Partnership and St. Louis Regional Chamber visited Israel last month to amplify St. Louis’ story and increase awareness of the region as a preferred relocation site.

BioSTL’s SLIIC team identifies and screens prospective target companies and strategically matches these Israeli companies with St. Louis resources, including F1potential corporate and institutional partners, investors, and scientific and business expertise that can lead to establishing a company presence in St. Louis.

SLIIC takes a collaborative approach to leverage a wide array of assets in St. Louis’ innovation ecosystem and provide the region a competitive advantage by offering value to prospective relocation candidates. Forrest Innovations will locate at BRDG Park, a Wexford Science + Technology development on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center focused on plant and life science companies. The Missouri Partnership facilitated Forrest Innovations’ state incentives.

“This latest success says a lot about the shared vision and clear purpose with which we approach economic development,” said Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “By leveraging our strengths and harnessing the combined resources of the state and local communities, we’re seeing a burgeoning bioscience industry here in St. Louis.”

“This economic development win is a testament to the region’s ability to attract new and exciting bioscience companies, and we are excited to welcome them to St. Louis” said St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan.

To see the full scope of involvement in BioSTL’s SLIIC by regional partners, visit our infographic depicting the collaborative nature of the initiative.