Kinoko Tech, a company producing the next generation of protein-rich food through fungi and fermentation technologies, is the 2022 winner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Asper Prize for Emerging Startups.
The NIS 100,000 ($29,000) cash prize was awarded by ASPER-HUJI Innovate – The Innovation Center of the Hebrew University, a center created to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit amongst students, researchers, and alumni at Hebrew University.
Founded in 2019 by Dr. Jasmin Ravid, Dr. Daria Feldman, and Hadar Shohat, Kinoko Tech develops fermentation products based on fungal mycelium that grows on legumes and grains, offering a solution for alternative proteins. .
Forty-five startup companies participated in the competition which focused on sustainability solutions, which also had five finalists.
All startups were created by HU alumni or using HU intellectual property. Participation in the competition was predicated on the usage of cutting-edge technologies and adherence to the United Nations’ development goals (SDGs). Each company needed to specify the SDG goal it aimed to address and the forecasted social impact of their technology, a statement from the university said.
During the course of the competition, entrepreneurs met with prominent investors from Israel’s leading venture capital funds to receive feedback and improve their chances to raise capital. Those same investors picked the five finalists.
The other four finalists included Daika Wood, a company that has created a new material that when manufactured retains the unique properties of wood though composed of natural wood waste; Antidote, a health tech company designed to be the first AI-based virtual HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) for the uninsured; Diptera.ai, a company that develop tech to fight mosquitoes with mosquitoes; and Immunyx Pharma, a targeting platform to treat neutrophilis, the largest immune cell population.
The five finalists then presented their startups ideas to a panel of members from HU’s Board of Governors. The panel included of Harel Beit-On, Chairman of HU’s Board of Managers, Michal Tzur, HU alumna and Co-founder and President of Kaltura, Gail Asper, President of The Asper Foundation, and Moses “Moe” Levy, Executive Director of The Asper Foundation.