A selection of 21 Israeli ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs will pitch to investors in London this week as part of the BizLabs ‘Scalerator’ program, created to help Charedis scale their start-ups.
BizLabs was launched in 2015 by the Achim Global organisation, together with the Kemach Foundation, which provides full services for the program with zero-equity taken.
Motti Eichler, founder of Achim Global, said, “In 2030, there will be close to two million people in the Charedi community in Israel, and we need to find a solution to help them integrate in Israel’s economic society, while respecting their halachic and cultural needs and values.
“Our mission is to help talented Charedi men and women to succeed, giving them the same opportunities that others have, but in line with the cultural norms and halachic rules that they keep to.”
Among those pitching are: Cygnus, Novotalk and About.Me.
Founded in 2019, Novotalk provides a cost-effective, 24/7 speech therapy service based on a real-life training platform to help people with speech disorders.
The Novotalk system eliminates the obstacle of clinician availability – users can sign up and undergo therapy whenever they want.
Novotalk is sold in Israel through a collaboration with Hadassah Medical Centre, and has a joint venture agreement with Mount Sinai Health System in New York.
Its CEO and global technology and business development leader, Avraham Sheinfeld said, “There are many challenges facing ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs … Bizlabs knew how to bring in a unique approach – a solution to the variety of challenges in the form of kashrut, a quality network, and connecting personal mentors as needed.”
Cygnus is the brainchild of Hillel Paley and Dvir Nahary, who launched it last year in Jerusalem to solve the problem of traffic congestion.
The team are developing the next generation of variable speed limit (VSL) systems, using computer vision and AI to predict traffic jams before they occur in real time.
The Cygnus platform connects to traffic control centres, manages VSL systems, and optimises traffic flow, significantly reducing congestion, carbon emission and road accidents.
Paley said, “Two years ago when I was 20, while studying at an ultra-Orthodox yeshivah in Jerusalem, I had a vision for a transportation tech venture.
“Fortunately, BizLabs recognised the potential of what was only an idea back then, and accepted me into their program.
“Have you come across any successful ultra-Orthodox start-ups in the world? I haven’t found any yet … we hope to break this ceiling glass and pave the way for others to follow.”
Founded last year by Ruchama Kahaneman, About.me is a personal branding platform that enables users to create an archive to preserve personal, public relations, and create a uniform method for sharing and presenting it.
Kahaneman said, “Being a businesswoman managing multiple hats, and being a mother of seven, means getting up every morning to a complex project, full of challenges and interest, that requires creative thinking and dealing with crises often.
“So I came to the world of entrepreneurship with a matching arsenal of skills and experience,” and BizLabs provided “a warm incubator for me that enabled professional growth and maximum tools”.
JEWISH NEWS UK