Israeli Company Establishes Operations Here

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – An Israeli company that produces advanced materials that could be useful across a wide array of industries has established some of its operations at the Youngstown Business Incubator and is considering expanding its presence here, officials said Thursday.

“If we find significant funding in the region, we will definitely consider relocating the entire company to Youngstown,” said Sagi Daren, CEO and founder of PrintCB.

Daren and Barak Rabinowitz, managing partner of the venture capital firm, F2 Capital, joined YBI CEO Barb Ewing via Skype from Israel during a press event at the Incubator yesterday.

PrintCB has developed copper ink that could be used in printed electronics and circuitry, Daren said. The copper material is less expensive than the silver ink used across the industry today and is more compatible with existing electronics manufacturing.

The materials could be transformative throughout the global printed electronics business, which would in turn impact a host of other industries including automotive, aerospace, biomedical and consumer electronics.

“Our plan is to launch our product officially by the end of this year,” Daren said. “The plan next year would be to scale up the operations.”

The CEO expects the company to break even by the second year, and emphasized that he sees great opportunity to expand the business and potentially locate its headquarters in Youngstown. It has already secured some business with one of the larger interests in northeastern Ohio, he added.

“We see no shortage of demand,” Daren said. “We see a very bright future. Whether or not we will relocate the entire company or just build some manufacturing and sales infrastructure remains to be seen.”

YBI CEO Barb Ewing expressed “great confidence” that the company could raise the necessary capital to justify relocating to Youngstown. She pointed out that revisions in the federal tax code last year establishes opportunity zones in certain designated areas of the state, which could provide incentives for new investment in these census tracts.

“I really think we’ll be able to attract significant investment through that opportunity zone program,” Ewing said.

Rabinowitz, a Mahoning Valley native, said the YBI and Youngstown proved to be a perfect place for the company to launch its U.S. presence. “In general, northeast Ohio has legacy and strengths in biomedical, aerospace and automotive – which are all key markets for PrintCB,” he said. “It was a natural fit.”

He cited that in northeastern Ohio alone, there are more than 1,500 manufacturers and service companies, 350 instrument control and electronics companies and 880 advanced materials companies that employ more than 33,000 people combined. Those kind of potential customers simply don’t exist in Israel.

“What we’re doing is to bring innovation from Israel to the northeast [Ohio] to form companies and generate jobs,” Rabinowitz said. “It’s wonderful to see it in action.”

Working with YBI made sense because the organization is deeply involved with the region’s advanced manufacturing community, Rabinowitz said.

“YBI understands the value proposition, the work of the manufacturing companies and how to plug in innovation into those companies,” he said, adding that Youngstown is geographically suited for the company since it sits in the heart of the Midwest manufacturing zone.

Evan Schumann, director of business development for PrintCB and the company’s first U.S. employee, said the market presents a great opportunity for the firm to expand.

“The market fit and understanding operations in manufacturing in the U.S. is what’s really going to take us to the next level,” he said.

PrintCB has worked over the last year with partners in the U.S. that have validated the product, Schumann said. “It’s really the fastest-growing market within electronics devices today,” he said. “There are some competitors that are working on it, but we’re miles ahead of them.”

PrintCB’s draw to Youngstown is the result of the Israeli-YBI collaborative, which included a delegation visiting Israel in 2017 that put officials in contact with entrepreneurs such as Daren, noted Bonnie Deutsch Burdman, a YBI board member and director of community relations for the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation.

“This was a very important trip that we took and clearly the benefits are paying off,” Burdman said. The delegation included staff from the YBI, the Jewish Federation and Youngstown State University.

Aside from PrintCB, the delegation also made contact with principals of XJet Ltd., based in Rehovot, Israel. In November, the company announced that it had selected the YBI as its first customer. It has since and has installed its Carmel 1400 ceramic additive manufacturing system in the YBI’s Tech Block Building No. 5.

“It’s an initiative that’s in its nascent stages,” Burdman said of the Israel-YBI initiative. “It’s time that we really stepped it up. Over the coming months, I think we’re going to be hearing more from YBI, more from YSU and certainly more from us at the Jewish Federation on how this initiative can really achieve greatness.”

Mike Hripko, director of research at YSU, said that the initiative earlier this year yielded a relationship with PrintSYSt, an Israeli 3D printing costing and pricing artificial intelligence software company used through YBI’s website. The software can determine whether a part could be 3D-printed at YSU’s Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing.

And, in two years, YSU plans to host the Technology Innovation in Metals Engineering conference, a global engineering summit co-hosted by Israel-based Technion.

“This doesn’t happen without great partnerships,” Hripko said, citing organizations such as America Makes, YBI, YSU, organizations such as the Jewish Federation and others in the private sector representing business and industry.

“We have a strong regional and national network,” he said. “We’ve demonstrated that it’s easy to do business in Youngstown and easy to set up here.”

Pictured: YBI CEO Barb Ewing and PrintCB director of business development Evan Schumann.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.