Liquid asset: The Israeli startup that turns air into water

Arye Kohavi’s Water-Gen has developed technology to meet a basic and universal need: Making water available everywhere at a reasonable price.

By Nadan Feldman | Jan. 2, 2015 | 12:09 AM

A drab building in Rishon Letzion’s industrial zone hides one of Israel’s most surprising and innovative enterprises. The offices of this startup company are stashed away at the back corner of the second floor, and the lack of any signs showing the way doesn’t make it any easier to find it. Not far away, in a dilapidated industrial building between a row of workshops is the company’s showroom. It is hard to believe that this spot, as far as possible in terms of geography and buzz from Silicon Valley, is the home of some of the most fascinating technology of our time: Manufacturing water from air.

Since founding Water-Gen in 2009, Arye Kohavi has preferred to operate from Israel with a very low profile. He does not avoid the media limelight, but it has come mostly from the public relations side of his biggest customer: The Israel Defense Forces. Unlike Israel’s most innovative high-tech entrepreneurs, Kohavi has stayed well under the radar even after the magazine Fast Company named Water-Gen one of its 50 most innovative companies in 2014. Water-Gen also received the European Technology Innovation Leadership Award for 2014 from market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

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