Expanding Program Supporting Ultra-Orthodox Tech Entrepreneurs
Over 25 Million NIS Granted to Ultra-Orthodox Entrepreneurs in Israel Since the Start of the Program.
July 26, 2018, Jerusalem – Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen: “The Ministry of Economy sees enormous importance in promoting industry and employment in Israel. The Israel Innovation Authority’s program to support startups in the ultra-Orthodox sector is an additional tool in the government’s policy to increase the number of people employed in the hi-tech industry and to create a supportive environment for startups via government funding.”
Dr. Ami Appelbaum, Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and Chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, said: “The Innovation Authority’s grant program fosters research and development, including amongst the ultra-Orthodox sector in Israel. The program, intended for startups, offers unique benefits to enable the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel to integrate as well as to contribute to the growth of the economy in general and the hi-tech industry in particular.”
Key updates in the program:
Revised degree of funding for innovative technological enterprises owned by ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs (at least 33% ownership) – the program has expanded from one to two years including additional funding in the second year, with a gradual transition to external sources of funding – 75% funding of the budget of an R&D project in the first year, and 70% in the second year (compared to 30-50% for enterprises in the original startup program).
- Maximum grant: In the first year, up to 2.5 million shekels and in the second year, up to 4.5 million shekels – (compared to what exists today: 2.3 million shekels in the first year).
- Substantial additional assistance to maximize resources and company success: a dedicated program to increase exposure and entrepreneurial training, the possibility to utilize some of the grant money for business or marketing consulting, and more.
The startup program for the ultra-Orthodox sector in Israel offers diverse tracks touching on all fields of technology. Some examples – support for entrepreneurs and startups which have created: software platforms in the field of artificial intelligence; technology enabling a free fleet tracking and dispatching system for carriers that connects carriers to direct shipper loads; multichannel digital communication companies; and a company combining the world of intra-organizational automation and chatbots.
Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority: “Expanding support for hi-tech entrepreneurship amongst ultra-Orthodox women and men will facilitate their ongoing, successful integration into Israel’s hi-tech market. There are already significant success stories and we want to see more entrepreneurs utilize the unique tools we are providing on their way to becoming additional success stories.”
Examples of ultra-Orthodox initiatives which received a grant over the past years:
Brillianetor, an AI startup that empowers machines to socialize with other machines and/or humans; RigGoh; the ground shipping platform; Bontact, the online communications startup; and Abaza, creator of the Membit platform for businesses, are all excellent examples of entrepreneurial initiatives in the ultra-Orthodox community receiving support from the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry via the Israel Innovation Authority.
- Brillianetor was established by ultra-Orthodox entrepreneur Meirav Hadad-Segev, with a doctorate in artificial intelligence who developed AI technology that allows computerized entities to cooperate with one another and with humans in a dynamic and decentralized environment. The product is a software platform based on advanced artificial intelligence techniques enabling the addition of social capabilities to characters in computer games. The product will enable game developers to implement innovative, advanced capabilities in computer games that were once impossible and thus significantly enrich the gaming and entertainment industries, heightening player interest and challenge levels and offering quick, easy, and inexpensive upgrades to existing games. The startup received two grants from the Israel Innovation Authority ultra-Orthodox startups program in 2016 and its general startup program in 2018.
(Click here for more information about Brillianetor www.brillianetor.com)
- RigGoh – a land shipping management platform. Co-founder and CEO Nachman BenChaya is a serial entrepreneur of products and software solutions. In the years 2005-2008, he served as chairman of the Sde Boker incubator investment panel. Today BenChaya serves as deputy chairman of the Breslav Hassidic movement and is head of the Modiin Illit branch of Agudat Yisrael. RigGoh simplifies and automates truck shipping so that carriers and shippers can offer better service, increase their profitability and efficiency, and simplify their daily routine. The aim is to enable shippers to exchange parts of their route in a manner that will streamline freight. Redistributing segments along a shipping route can minimize inefficiencies (i.e. driving an empty truck) or low-income routes (high-cost trips with low shipping rates), or even to sell a profitable segment to a different shipper that has an empty truck on that segment. The company was founded with an investment of $300,000: two grants from the Israel Innovation Authority – in 2017 as part of the startup program for ultra-Orthodox companies and in 2018 from the standard startup program.
(Click here for more information about RigGoh www.riggoh.com)
- Bontact: online communications – CEO Sari Roth is an ultra-Orthodox entrepreneur with 15 years’ experience in management, marketing and business development. She founded, managed and successfully led Callme, specializing in VOIP solutions for the Israeli market. In 2014, Roth and Tzvi Cohen established Bontact, an enterprise aimed at the international market in the field of online communications in a multi-channel platform. The enterprise, which received a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority in the dedicated R&D program for the ultra-Orthodox sector, has established a cooperative agreement with WIX and has thousands of users around the world.
(Click here for more information about Bontact www.Bontact.com)
- Abaza – Developing a platform called Membit to automate processes between an organization and its customers. The Membit platform for businesses will be a ready-to-use digital channel that will enable smart automated processes between an organization and its clients – a Smart Process Automation (SPA) Channel. Membit combines the worlds of intra-organizational automation and the world of chatbots, and will offer end users a smart digital channel that can better understand the needs of clients and even carry out complex actions, by combining several technologies: Natural Language Processing through a unique algorithm; built-in interfaces with organizational systems (CRM, ERP); and insights based on artificial intelligence. The channel will be controlled and secured end-to-end by Membit, which will enable the transfer of sensitive data between parties. CEO Rutie Margalit has many years of experience in the field of software, entrepreneurship and management. She began as a programmer in ECtel in the year 2000, became product supervisor in the field of communications, and established the i-rox software services company 12 years ago, which she led until recently. Under Margalit’s leadership, the company grew to about 130 ultra-Orthodox female programmers, who provide top-quality development services to major hi-tech companies. Rutie founded and currently runs Abaza where she is in charge of product definition and architecture.