The Force behind Israel’s AI Power
Is it a coincidence that all of the Israeli startups on the “AI 100” global ranking (CB Insights) are founded by TAU alumni? “No,” says Prof. Meir Feder, Head of TAU’s Center for AI & Data Science. “We’re leading Israel in AI due to three things: we offer a superb, interdisciplinary education; we nurture innovation and entrepreneurship; and we attract the best students from all over the country.”
Prof. Feder and TAU Rector Prof. Mark Shtaif were the supervisors of TAU alumni Omri Geller and Dr. Ronen Dar, who became research buddies and friends during their studies. In 2018, the pair identified a clear trend. The insatiable need for AI and deep learning computing power was outstripping available resources. They founded Run:ai, which quickly became a market leader in AI infrastructure, won numerous awards, raised $118 million in venture capital – and landed on the “AI 100” list.
Run:AI founders Omri Geller and Dr. Ronen Dar ( right).
Other companies on the prestigious ranking, all established by TAU alumni in the Tel Aviv area, are:
• AI21 Labs, which makes natural language processing software and counts TAU alumnus Prof. Amnon Shashua, laureate of the Dan David Prize and Hugo Ramniceanu Prize in Economics, among its founders.
• Pecan AI, which provides predictive analytics software for solving business problems and was co-founded by two TAU PhDs in computational neuroscience, Dr. Noam Brezis and Dr. Zohar Bronfman (who holds a second PhD in the history and philosophy of science and ideas).
• Zencity, which runs a platform for bringing community input and residents’ voices into local government decision-making, co-founded by Eyal Feder-Levy, a graduate of TAU’s Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students, and MBA alumnus Ifo Ivi.
Source: TAU 2023 Annual Report