BOG 2018: Gett Founder Wins TAU Ramniceanu Prize in Economics
The 2018 Hugo Ramniceanu Prize in Economics was awarded to Dave Waiser, founder and CEO of Gett, a global taxi hailing and ride-sharing application. The Prize is awarded annually during the Tel Aviv University Board of Governors meeting to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Israeli economy. The prize’s founder, the late Hugo Ramniceanu, was a successful industrialist in the textile industry and a significant donor to the State of Israel. At TAU, he was a longtime president of the French Friends Association.
Waiser, a TAU alumnus, was brought up in a Zionist family in Russia, making aliya to Israel at the age of 16. He is a serial entrepreneur who founded and built up several companies from a young age. He founded Gett (originally GetTaxi) in 2010, which now operates in 100 cities worldwide, including New York, London, Moscow and Tel Aviv. Gett raised $640 million in venture funding and was selected by FORBES as one of the fastest growing companies.
The prize recognized Waiser for his shepherding of Gett toward socially and environmentally responsible business values, his role in developing Israeli smart transportation solutions and his efforts to showcase Israeli technological ingenuity internationally.
Chairman of the Board of Governors Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel said, “I wish Hugo were here with us this year for Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations. He would have been so proud and happy to see how this country is flourishing and would have felt deep satisfaction that Tel Aviv University has played a key role in keeping the Israeli economy and Israeli society strong,” he said. “He would have been thrilled that the Prize he founded in 1987 has become a prestigious symbol for outstanding business, industry and community achievement,” said Frenkel. “I think he would have been delighted with this year’s prize winner, Dave Waiser, who is a high-tech prodigy.”
Frenkel congratulated Hugo Ramincieanu’s daughter Dr. Monique Barel, and “our outstanding and committed French Friends for helping keep Hugo’s spirit alive and for rewarding excellence in the economic sphere in Israel.”
TAU President Joseph Klafter announced that Mr. Waiser had generously donated his award money to student scholarships at the University. “Dave, you are shaping the future of the transportation and digital worlds, and so are we at TAU through several major initiatives in smart transportation, smart cities, digital living and artificial intelligence.
President of the French Friends Prof. François Heilbronn noted that Hugo served in that same role from 1972-2003. “He had a dream – that Israel should be a country of entrepreneurs. This prize was created over 30 years ago and the transformation in Israel’s innovation sector is amazing.”
In response, Waiser said, “I am honored to receive this award. Today, Gett has 10 million users and holds 5% of the ride-sharing market. Transportation today is not just getting from A to B. The technology we have developed represents a big shift – from car ownership to service. Instead of buying a car you now buy a ride,” said Waiser. He noted that at Gett’s innovation center in Tel Aviv they are employing talented TAU graduates who are working on cutting edge technology.
Among the recipients of the prize in recent years are former CEO of Bank Leumi Galia Maor; former Intel Israel CEO Maxine Fassberg; founders of Medinol - Kobi and Yehudit Richter; and WAZE co-founders Uri Levine and Ehud Shabtai. Last year the prize was awarded to Etty and Gabi Rotter, joint CEOs of Castro.
The Hugo and Valerie Ramniceanu Scholarship in Economics was awarded to Tatiana Openheim, a student in economics and art history.