Helping Haredi Startups Beat The Bias
Israel is the nation with almost 9,500 startups – but fewer than 40 of them have been founded by ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Eric Lozon, of Dos Ventures, an Orthodox entrepreneurship program, is working to change that.
He recruited six Haredi-led startups for a week-long bootcamp, which provided them with practical and one-on-one sessions with mentors, and connections to other players in the hi-tech ecosystem that will propel their businesses forward.
The name of his program, Dos Ventures, comes from ‘dos’, a term used by secular Jews to refer to Haredi people. The bootcamp itself concluded two weeks ago.
The ultra-Orthodox community accounts for one in eight of Israel’s population, but only 0.4 percent of new ventures in the Startup Nation.
The pilot was developed after the first-ever ultra-Orthodox startup and innovation summit six months ago, where 30 Haredi startups presented their technologies.
During the conference, a panel of venture capitalists (from outside the Haredi community) were asked how many startups they invested in that were formed by Haredi entrepreneurs. The answer was zero.
“Even though we had 30 exhibiting very good technologies and great ideas, there’s a wall that we’re not really able to pass,” says Lozon.
“What we’ve seen over the last year is that usually when a Haredi person comes into the room, there’s a bias about them. We’re trying to bridge that gap.
“They are what they are, but you have to look at them as what they bring to the table. They have a different perspective, different skills that we can utilize, and creative ideas.”
Among those sitting in the panel was Tzahi (Zack) Weisfeld, vice president of Intel Ignite, an accelerator program for early-stage startups.
“We understand that the way we select companies [for Intel Ignite] is biased,” he says. “But one of the challenges we saw with Haredi startups is that although there are great founders with great ideas, eventually they will have to meet our world.
“Eventually they’ll have to raise funding from Silicon Valley venture capitalists, and eventually they’ll need to sell to CTOs and CEOs of companies that may not understand their world and where they’re coming from. So we have to help bridge that gap.
“Eventually, they need to understand how to pitch to an investor that may not care about them being Orthodox. They care about making money. So how do you make this work?”
The two decided to collaborate in an effort to help Haredi startups succeed, and developed the pilot, which is a shorter, faster version of the 12 week-long Intel Ignite program.
NoCamels presents the six Haredi startups that participated in the bootcamp. Their innovative technologies range from a vibrating sleeve that relieves chronic pain, to sensors that stop cement deteriorating.
Generative AI is already being used to create unique art, solve complex problems, write articles, and more – but until now, it has not been used to help develop physical objects.
Ideeza is the first generative AI that can build a complete hardware design for a wide range of objects – from custom furniture, to a complex piece of machinery.
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All a user needs to do is enter a few simple sentences describing the desired size, style, and materials, and the AI will generate a detailed design complete with a materials list. It also provides 3D modeling and virtual reality simulations of the design.
Ideeza is incorporating blockchain technology to its platform so users can secure ownership of their ideas. Designs can be minted as an NFT (non-fungible token), which act as certificates of authenticity for something that would otherwise be reproduced or duplicated again and again. The designs can then be shared and sold for profit.
From the moment concrete leaves the factory, its quality begins to deteriorate. To compensate for this, drivers add water en route, but in an inaccurate and uncontrolled manner, which further reduces its quality. As a result, more cement is added to the mixture, raising overall production costs.
Conext uses sensors and machine learning to ensure real-time control of the concrete’s condition and determine other parameters in the truck mixers. Water and/or mixture can be added in a controlled manner to maintain the concrete’s quality. It aims to have its solution installed in local and international concrete companies around the world.
Bad cell phone reception is an issue no matter where you go, and it’s mostly because of poor planning.
Flycomm helps cities monitor, manage, and plan the accessibility of their wireless communications. It claims that its solution can provide full coverage throughout an entire city.
Any authority, company, or consumer of cellular or wireless communications can receive clear information regarding the optimal and precise use of existing communications resources, and even plan infrastructure easily and intuitively.
The Flycomm system helps save a large amount of money by means of optimal planning, and allows users to enjoy high communications performance for every type of application.
Electricity, rather than medication, could become the 21st century way to beat chronic pain.
Healables, a startup based in Jerusalem, embeds electrodes into an elasticated sleeve controlled by a smartphone app. They gently vibrate to stimulate affected cells into repairing themselves.
The patient attaches the patented device to their knee, ankle, or shoulder for between 30 and 60 minutes a day and it delivers a very low level “subsensory” electric current.
The device is currently undergoing clinical trials. Healables CEO Moshe Lebowitz hopes it will be granted FDA medical certification later this year for use in the USA, which could see it being prescribed as the first line of defense for pain relief.
“It really is as simple as getting dressed – putting on a sock, a knee sleeve or a shoulder garment,” Lebowitz told NoCamels. “You download the app to your phone, snap the device into place on the textile, press start and the healing begins.”
Software development companies are constantly adding new features to their product to remain ahead of the competition, but these changes can easily damage the existing product and affect customer satisfaction. Many companies that try to test for bugs and resolve the new issues end up failing.
Skipper Soft is developing a service that uses artificial intelligence to test new features in software for bugs in a matter of minutes. Its automation testing takes a third of the time compared to existing solutions on the market today. The company believes that its solution could eventually be applied to any software firm.
As more and more companies turn to digitizing their operations with analytics, algorithms, and human-machine interactions, they run a greater risk of experiencing cybersecurity threats and internal attacks.
EasySec Solutions has developed a product that continuously monitors for threats, protects against insider attacks, and provides history allowing cyber events investigations.