Fertility AI, Victory Gums and Vegan Eggs
The finalists in the Coller Startup Competition 2021 covered a lot of ground
The fifth Coller Startup Competition final took place last week on TAU campus, as the final teams pitched their startups covering fashion, health, FoodTech, human resources and recruitment, quality of life and mental health, environment, animals and more. Who were the lucky winners? Which technologies do they offer? And what did a talking robot have to do with all of this?
How Does One Choose?
We did not envy the judges, as the 10 final teams from the competition’s open track were pitching their projects to an audience of investors, entrepreneurs, and students. Prof. Moshe Zviran Dean of Coller School of Management introduced the teams ahead of the pitching, saying “The opportunity for all to come and compete with ideas hailing from different worlds, this is exactly the wealth of a university on the scale of Tel Aviv University. There are people here who are really headed to the worlds of knowledge and research.”
As the pitching began, the judge seated next to us looked down on his paper, shook his head and asked out loud “How does one choose?” We were happy to leave the difficult decision with him. Two final winners were announced that evening, one from an open track and one from a FoodTech track, each leaving the stage $100,000 richer (and the runner-ups didn’t exactly leave empty-handed either).
Winner of the Open Track – FertilAI
“One out of 6 encounter issues when trying to conceive” and “the success rate of a month of fertility treatments is only between 10%-30%”, said Rohi Hourvitz, CEO of FertilAI. FertilAI uses artificial intelligence based on an algorithm they have developed to help women succeed in fertility processes and help doctors manage the treatment more effectively through the company’s app. The first such algorithm used for natural cycle ovulation prediction was already developed based on a clinical research done by their team and is in the process of getting CE regulation. The company was recently approved for a grant from the Israeli Innovation Authority to develop a first pilot site. CEO Rohi Hourvitz is a TAU alumni from the School of Electrical Engineering and an MBA graduate from Coller School of Management, business management. The founders of the team are: Rohi Hourvitz, Prof. Ariel Hourvitz, Dr. Ettie Maman Dr. Mich Baum.
Winner of the FoodTech Track - Sweet Victory
If you have ever tried to reduce your sugar intake, you know that it can feel like an uphill battle. We have good news: founders of “Sweet Victory” Shimrit Lev and Gitit Kahav promise that if you arm yourself with their gum, the war against all things sweet becomes “easy as magic”. Developed for people who need to take control of their sugar intake, “Sweet Victory” is a functional chewing gum that works immediately with an amazing effect – it feels like a regular mint gum, but within 2 minutes of chewing it blocks the tongue’s receptors for sweet taste, so that you cannot taste any sweetness at all from sugary food, instantly reducing the sugar craving. The gum is currently available in Panama, the Philippines and in France, and will be available in Israel in the near future.
Sweet Victory - Winner of the FoodTech Track. From left: Nir Goldstein, Dr. Eyal Benjamin, Jeremy Coller (via robot), Shimrit Lev, Gitit Kahav, Ilanit Kabessa-Hohen, Prof. Moshe Zviran (photo: Omer Levi)
Second Place in the FoodTech Track - Yo-egg
Just like with sugar, we all know chicken eggs must be consumed with moderation (cholesterol…). Enters Yo!, which perfectly simulates the sunny-side-up egg we all love. Made from 100% vegetal ingredients and therefore completely cholesterol free it may be consumed without restriction. This herbal substitute for an egg has a similar appearance to the original, including a liquid yolk in the center and with an amount of protein and nutritional values very similar to that of a regular chicken egg. Yo! is also safe for pregnant women, babies, children and anyone else, and free of egg-associated pathogens such as salmonella. The Yo-egg team won an investment of $25,000.
Second Place in the Open Track – MindSense
Bringing AI to the world of psychotherapy, this platform translates therapy sessions into information which can be quantified and summarized through goals, guidance and counselling. The Mindsense team also won an investment of $25,000 from investment fund fresh.fund.
Third Place in the Open Track – SoLed
This startup developed a water disinfection device for areas limited by infrastructure such as developing and desert countries. The device provides maximum disinfection with minimal expenses and human intervention. The team won a support program for startups from TAU Ventures.
The Mingling Robot
The Coller $100,000 Startup Competition was established 5 years ago, by Mr. Jeremy Coller Chief Investment Officer at Coller Capital, Prof. Moshe Zviran Dean of Coller School of Management and Dr. Eyal Benjamin Head of Entrepreneurial Projects, Coller Institute of Ventures. The goal of the competition is to encourage students and alumni of TAU to promote their startup and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Coller could be seen at the event, mingling with those present, participating at the awards committee meeting, presenting from the stage and having his pictures taken with the winning teams. Only he wasn’t there in person but represented by an innovative robot of the robotics division Robotize, of the company Mittwoch. The robot wore his own name tag, just like the rest of us.
From left: Prof. Moshe Zviran, Jeremy Coller (via robot) and Dr. Eyal Benjamin (Photo: Omer Levi)