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Sustainability and Innovation

There is never a bad time to start a venture, says serial entrepreneur

Talmon Marco, who previously founded Viber and Juno and now heads hydrogen fuel company H2Pro, spoke Wednesday at Calcalist and ESIL Technologies’ Sustainability and Innovation Week

Maayan Manela | 16:10  09.09.2020
Hydrogen is the ultimate fuel, according to Israeli-American serial entrepreneur Talmon Marco. Marco already has two exits under his belt. In 2014, he sold messaging app developer Viber Media Inc. to Japan's biggest online retailer Rakuten Inc. and, in 2017, he sold ride-hailing app Juno Inc. to Gett.

Marco, who is now the interim CEO of Israel-based H2Pro Ltd., spoke Wednesday with Calcalist reporter Meir Orbach, as part of Calcalist and ESIL Technologies’ Sustainability and Innovation Week.

Founded last year, H2Pro develops technology for separating the chemical elements in water—hydrogen and oxygen—to produce sustainable fuel. “On top of the business aspect,” Marco said, “this is an opportunity to give back and create something that makes the world better.”

Unlike traditional fuels such as petrol, diesel, coal, and even natural gas, Marco said, when you burn hydrogen you get water. “This means that if you can produce hydrogen through a clean process, without harmful fuels, using solar energy, for example, it can be used as a green energy source for heating, transportation, and aviation,” he said.

A truck could be fueled by around 20 kilograms of hydrogen compared to about five tonnes of batteries if it were electrical, Marco said, and in that case, it would also have a far more limited range. “A hydrogen tank can be recharged in minutes, unlike batteries that would take much longer,” he said.

Unlike Marco’s previous companies, H2Pro is not a software company. “It is a lot of fun to see something physical that you have built with your hands,” Marco said. According to him, the company is now looking for a location to set up its factory in Israel. “There is nothing wrong with employing software developers,” he said, “I have done that more than once. But, to go out and create jobs for people who did not study programming and be able to pay them well, not minimum wage, to create an energy market, a future economic sector here in Israel, is very exciting.”

Some periods are easier and some are more difficult but it is always a good time to start new ventures, Marco said. In the European Union and the U.S. environmental projects are looked at as a chance to boost the economy so it is a solid investment, he added. “Our environmental problems are not going anywhere and looking the other way is not going to change that,” he said. “These problems are real and we are going to solve them,” he added.

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