MonitHer, a Jerusalem-based breast monitoring company founded by NASA postdoctoral fellow Yehudit Abrams won the grand prize at the WeWork Creator Awards at the Pais Arena in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the first such event in the city. The Israeli co-founded co-working space giant held the event in the city in part to mark the opening of the first WeWork location in the Israeli capital.
MonitHer won the top award of $360,000 for its innovative medtech device, a handheld breast ultrasound system that can be used at home to monitor for breast tissue abnormalities. Abrams said she would use the funding received from WeWork for the FDA-approved software to begin working on a hardware prototype.
“One mammogram doesn’t tell the story, but MonitHer does,” she said during her pitch, “We are providing a dynamic picture of breast changes every month, enabling the most accurate and earliest detection of breast cancer ever possible.”
MonitHer was competing against 10 other finalists, including another medtech startup, one educational platform, one water tech company, a writing system, an app to get advice in the workplace, three non-profit organizations and a musical group across three categories: Business Venture, Non-Profit, and Performing Arts.
WeWork gave away more than $770,000 to finalists and winners who were chosen for their impact, scalability, and sustainability in the market.
Two other companies came in second and third place behind MonitHer. SensPD, a startup developing a device and method to detect autism at an early stage, won $180,000 in second place, and the solar-energy powered water desalination treatment tech firm Tethy’s won third place in the Business Venture category.
Alongside MonitHer, other startups in the Business Venture category included Emerj, an app that connects employees with mentors for timely career advice, Bibliotech, an online Arabic educational platform, and a uniquely designed pencil/writing system called Duet Writing.
Amutat Kaima, an organization that pushes “employment as education” for dropout youth through organic farming, won $72,000 in the Non-profit category. The two other finalists in the Non-profit category, the Jewish-Arab school/community network Hand in Hand and Yotsrot, the organization that helps women exiting prostitution by enlisting them in vocational training and emotional support program, each won $18,000.
The Angelcy, an independent band of six musicians that creates, arranges, and records music together, won $18,000 in the Performing Arts category.
The Creator Awards, a global initiative launched in March 2017, also honored Sagi Shahar, co-founder and CEO of Nachshomim, with the Community Giver award. Nachshomim is a non-profit organization with the goal of helping small businesses and non-profit organizations in Israel’s periphery grow.
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— Matt (@mattkrieger1) June 20, 2018
Prior to the awards ceremony, the event offered a job fair, pop-up market, and free food and drinks. Other highlights of the evening included performances from popular Israeli singer Aviv Geffen and his band The Mistakes and Eurovision song contest winner Netta Barzilai as well as master classes from Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard and WeWork CEO Adam Neumann who chatted with Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat about the future of smart cities, why innovation is coming to Jerusalem and why WeWork chose Jerusalem for its next location.
Since its first Creator Awards in Washington D.C., WeWork has hosted more than 23,000 attendees across 11 regional semi-final creator awards events around the world, plus one world finals event in New York City earlier this year. In addition to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Creator Awards events have already taken place in Mexico City, Shanghai, and San Francisco, with additional events planned for Nashville, São Paulo, London and Berlin. The winners of the regional semi-final events, in this case MonitHer and others, will be eligible to present at the global finals for the chance to win additional funding in January 2019.
WeWork, the company known for providing shared workspace communities and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small business, and even going as far as offering new concepts like living spaces and schools for children, has become a global giant in recent years, with a $20 billion valuation after a $760 Series G funding round announced in July 2017.
Israeli-born Neumann founded WeWork in New York City in 2010. Since then, the company has established 373 locations in 69 cities, providing more than 256,000 members worldwide with the space, community, and services to create, work, and collaborate with like-minded people to help their businesses grow.
Perhaps Suchard, the Israeli mentalist who wowed the crowd with telekinesis and other tricks during the event, can sum up exactly what Neumann was thinking when he first came up with the WeWork concept alongside American pal Miguel McKelvey.
“Always have positive thoughts,” he said during his master class, “because you never know who might be reading your mind.”