BOG23: Dan Launchpad to Boost Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Tel Aviv University launched a start-up development program, the Dan Launchpad, during its 2023 Board of Governors meeting. Thanks to a generous donation by Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan Holzmann, the new program will serve as a “missing link” in TAU’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, providing a comprehensive range of services tailored to support selected high-potential ventures.
Adding the Missing Piece
“Teaching our students the principles of entrepreneurship and how to start a new venture is not enough. It is theory and we must blend it with practice,” explained Prof. Moshe Zviran, Head of the Dan Launchpad, and also TAU’s Chief Entrepreneurship and Innovation Officer and former Dean of the Coller School of Management. “The Dan Launchpad is exactly the missing piece in the puzzle—it will enable start-up founders to engage with business development specialists, mentors, investors, and industry stakeholders, ultimately aiding in their transition from early-stage to venture-funded projects,” he said.
WATCH: The festive inauguration ceremony of Dan Launchpad
TAU ranks 7th in the world— and first outside the United States—for producing successful, VC-backed company founders. The new program is expected to additionally boost startup projects initiated by students, faculty, and alumni, further advancing TAU’s standing. “We already have a few startups in the pipeline and hope that before long we will be proud to see even more globally-recognized companies and unicorns that were launched here,” Zviran said. He added that within 4 years, the Launchpad is expected to support 30 initiatives annually.
Not Your Typical Startup Acceleration
Dan Launchpad’s executive director, Dr. Eyal Benjamin, said that the platform goes beyond “classic startup acceleration.” While most accelerator programs have pre-set non-flexible starting and ending dates, and many are industry-specific, “the Launchpad will tailor its support to each startup’s specific needs, offering flexible state-of-the-art venture development methods, which will allow each team to reach its full potential,” he explained.
Wide Therapy, a child guidance app founded in 2021 by TAU business students Roni Singler and Rinat Hitelman, is one of the first ventures admitted to the Dan Launchpad. "We are lucky,” said Roni, the startup’s CEO. “The unique support and facilitation we receive perfectly match our needs.”