This year, there were two winners of the Coller $100,000 Startup Competition at Tel Aviv University
Surprise at the Coller Startup Competition – the panel of judges chose two startups for first place – CASTOR and Tunefork. So, the investment prize awarded by the by the Jeremy Coller Foundation was doubled and each of the winners received $100,000.
The final round of the annual Coller Competition for startups at the beginning of their journey was held last Wednesday evening, 6 June 2018 at Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management.
This is the second year that the School has held the Coller $100,000 Startup Competition.
Out of more than 70 contestants, 10 reached the semi-finals and five made it through to the tension of the final round. The competition’s judges were hard pressed to select a winner from among the five finalists with their excellent ideas, all worthy of the prize.
Though there was supposed to be a single winner, after lengthy deliberations that lasted much longer that they were meant to, the judges decided to break the rules, double the prize money and choose two winners: CASTOR and Tunefork.
CASTOR is a cloud server for optimizing the manufacture of parts, inter alia for use in 3D printing, which reached the finals in last year’s competition. Tunefork is a technology that produces a personal hearing profile that matches the sound system in a cellphone to the specific needs of the individual.
The other participants in the final round were T-Fresh, a single-use toothbrush designed for use without water, Solutum, a bio-degradable alternative for plastic that disintegrates chemically through bacteria and is therefore friendly to the environment, and MDLinks, software for organizing medical data on patients and presenting relevant information to physicians. The 10 semi-finalists enjoyed the benefit of personal mentoring and consulting from high-tech entrepreneurs and specialists and academics.
Professor Moshe Zviran, Dean of Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management, gave the opening address at the final round event. In his words: “The competition is designed for startups initiated by students and young alumni of the Coller School in particular and Tel Aviv University in general. It has the special feature of enabling participants to present their initiatives in a supportive and varied academic framework, thereby providing the added value of helping to minimize the errors that entrepreneurs commonly make.”
Jeremy Coller, the British businessman who is the moving spirit behind the competition and a member of the panel of judges, said how impressed he was by the innovation and entrepreneurship of the ventures presented in the competition, and by the research and teaching at the school that bears his name, a school that aims to continue its broad range of activities and take the lead in the international arena of business schools in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship. In relating to the double first prize, he said: “I hope that one of the winning startups will be the next unicorn (a startup company valued at over $1 billion).”
Dr Iris Ginzburg, Head of the Coller School’s MBA program in Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and member of the panel of judges, said: “The main challenge in judging the winner was to evaluate how the startups at the beginning of their journey would turn out in the continuation, so in addition to the technological solution we also examined the ability of the entrepreneurs to contend with challenges, their openness to accepting feedback, and more. The ability to learn lessons and change direction quickly is a positive trait for entrepreneurs who want to succeed.”
The panel of judges included Jeremy Coller, founder and CEO of Coller Capital, Adv. Sharon Gazit, Partner and the Head of Goldfarb Seligman's Corporate and Technology Department, Dr Iris Ginzburg, Head of the MBA program in Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Fiona Darmon, Partner in Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Tzahi Weisfeld, General Manager of Microsoft for Startups, Nimrod Cohen, Managing Partner at TAU Ventures, Adv. Mimi Zemah, Partner in Zemah Schneider & Partners, Dr Nimrod Kozlovski, Manager and Co-Founder, JVP Cyber Labs and lecturer in cyber studies at Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management, Noga Kap, Managing Partner at i3 Equity Partners, and Izhar Shay, a Prior Fund General Partner at Canaan Partners. The competition was organized by Odeya Pergament.
The International Ranking of the Pitchbook research company
The international ranking published in September 2017 by the Pitchbook research company, which surveyed thousands of startups that raised venture capital throughout the previous 11 years, ranked the MBA of Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management in 13th place worldwide and first in Israel in producing entrepreneurs, based on the amount of capital that its alumni raised from venture capital funds. The Coller School’s MBA program is ranked eighth among universities throughout the world for the entrepreneurs among its alumni who have initiated unicorns, that is, startups that have raised more than $1 billion for their ventures. The company ranks Tel Aviv University ninth in the world for producing entrepreneurs with a bachelor’s degree who have raised funds for their ventures.
Click here for photos from the event.