Apr. 18, 2016

Inno-Negev, BGU's technology accelerator, has successfully concluded its first cycle. Eleven new start-ups were unveiled at the concluding event held at WeWork in the Advanced Technologies Park in Beer-Sheva late last week. The accelerator has demonstrated its importance in promoting cutting-edge innovation and the strength of Beer-Sheva’s entrepreneurial community. 

Demo Day showcased the fruits of Inno-Negev’s first cycle – 11 new startups in the fields of communication and information. These 11 initiatives were chosen from 130 teams, which included more than 300 entrepreneurs, most from Beer-Sheva and its environs. The entrepreneurs accepted included BGU students and alumni, alumni of elite IDF technology units and others. 

FituUp – an online system for sports and workout sessions, CyBellum – a cyber security initiative, Goodies – a unique system for global price comparisons including tax and shipping, Voxi – a device to silence noise in urban environments, Mathodix – a system that checks how pupils solve math problems, were just some of the startups presented at the event. 

Inno-Negev is a technology accelerator that provides start-ups and hi-tech entrepreneurs with the support and essential tools needed to advance their ventures. The accelerator is a joint venture of the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management, BGU and BGN Technologies (BGU's technology company). Inno-Negev is committed to serving as the critical bridge and meeting point for entrepreneurs, investors and global organizations in one of the most rapidly developing hi-tech regions in Israel – the Negev. The Negev region hosts academic institutes, leading hi-tech companies, technological incubators, a hi-tech park and soon the elite technological units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). This has created a promising and lively entrepreneurial community, which the accelerator will continue to assist and lead.  

The accelerator, which has offices in WeWork, offered the entrepreneurs a series of workshops and lectures and an individual support system of more than 50 experienced technological and business mentors, including the R&D managers of leading international companies operating in Israel, such as Lockheed-Martin and Deutsche Telekom, accountants and lawyers, business consultants, entrepreneurs and more.  

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi opened the event by stressing the accelerator’s importance to the University’s efforts to promote the region as a national and international center of innovation: “This is an expression of the power of the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem BGU us nurturing in Beer-Sheva.” 

Yossi Shavit, director of the accelerator: “Inno-Negev has surpassed every success indicator that we defined. The number of applicants was double what we predicted, which demonstrates the need for such a support framework. The number of mentors who agreed to volunteer to help the entrepreneurs, their quality and the extent of the support that they offered exceeded all expectations. In addition, our partners’ support improved and expedited the cycle.” 

Netta Cohen, CEO of BGN Technologies, noted that the teams’ successes are proof of the quality of the entrepreneurs and the significant contribution of the new framework.  

“One of the start-ups has already garnered its first investment, and another team is set to sign a deal for a significant investment in the upcoming days. Some of the teams already have proof of concept, while others are launching their product within the next two months.” 

Prof. Dafna Schwartz, chair and director of the Bengis Center: “The main strength of the accelerator is the connection between the founding partners and the leading organizations in the innovation ecosystem which supported the first cycle.”  

Partnerships are recruited for each cycle and vary in areas of expertise in accordance with the cycle’s focus of activity. Partners in the initial cycle included the following leading organizations – Incubit Technology Ventures by Elbit Systems Ltd. (technological incubator), Deloitte (accounting), Leumi Tech (banking), Beta (social entrepreneurship), Luzzatto Law Firm (law), Luzzatto & Luzzatto Patent Attorneys (IP), Plus Ventures (venture capital fund) and the Office for Negev Development (governmental agency).