Lucien Bronicki is one of Israel's foremost experts in geothermal power, but when I ran into him last week at Ben Gurion University, in Israel's Negev Desert, all he wanted to talk about was oil wells. Israel, he told me, had discovered oil.
Pointing to a room full of young Israeli high-tech college seniors, Mr. Bronicki remarked: "These are our oil wells."
It was quite a scene. Once a year Ben Gurion students in biomedical engineering, software, electrical engineering and computing create elaborate displays of their senior projects or as in the case of a student-made robot that sidled up to me demonstrate devices they've invented.
On this occasion, Yossi Vardi, the godfather of Israeli venture capitalism ever since he backed the four young Israelis who invented the first Internetwide instant messaging system, Mirabilis, which was sold to AOL for $400 million in 1998 brought some of his venture capital pals, like Mr. Bronicki, down to Ben Gurion to scout out potential start-ups and to mentor the grads.