JERUSALEM, April 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The first ever Israel Lean Launchpad program, founded by the Merage Institute to provide effective training to entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists, has concluded in Jerusalem with an initial cohort of a dozen Israeli startup CEOs and founders. The program, which first found success in Silicon Valley, aims to give start-up founders in the Israeli startup ecosystem the tools to build sustainable companies by focusing on the importance of business models over business plans.
Members of the program participated in ten day-long workshops and seminars focused on different areas of commercialization, that included rapid-fire feedback from their target audience on their business hypotheses, including revenue models and partners, storytelling and more. The program ran from February through April 2019. Inspired by the Lean Startup methodology created by Steve Blank and employed worldwide, the program was brought to Israel by U.S. businessman and philanthropist, Paul Merage and Start-Up Nation Central, the Jerusalem Development Authority, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Yissum.
Yishay Aizik, Executive Director of the Merage Foundation said, "We are proud to launch the Israeli Lean Launchpad with our partners after we identified the need to provide Israeli entrepreneurs with practical tools to commercialize their wonderful ideas. Our goal is to increase the rate of success among Israeli startups and to help them penetrate the U.S. market in the future."
Hosting the first Lean Launchpad in Jerusalem is indicative of the growing role of tech in the city. "Jerusalem is a hi-tech and bio-med hub in Israel and is highly respected around the world. Seven years ago, when I was Chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority, we decided to pursue the development of a hi-tech and bio-med ecosystem, based on the strength of our city's institutions, including the Hebrew University and our advanced hospital system. Jerusalem is on its way to becoming a world leader in these fields, and as Mayor, I will continue to do everything I can to support this growth," Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said at an event marking the conclusion of the program.
Prof. Eugene Kandel, CEO of Startup Nation Central said, "Scientists and researchers who learn entrepreneurship and business skills are better able to commercialize their research. The Israeli government, which makes large investments in basic and applied research, stands to benefit tremendously should it be translated into viable profit-generating companies. Training programs such as Lean Launchpad are exactly what we need to help tap into this underrealized source of entrepreneurship. I am very much in favor of the government agencies helping pilot such courses in all research universities and testing their long-term impact."
In addition to the Merage Institute, Lean Launchpad's partners include the JDA, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, HUJI Innovate, The Jerusalem School of Business Administration, The Magid Institute for Continuing Education founded by Hebrew University, and Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University.
"The Jerusalem Development Authority is pleased to promote and support the Israeli Lean Launchpad program. There is an advanced technological ecosystem in Jerusalem. Developing management capabilities with an emphasis on customer understanding, as promoted in the program, complements the existing strengths in city," said Itzik Ozer, Senior Director of Business Development, JDA.
In recent years, Jerusalem's hi-tech scene has skyrocketed from 200 to 600 start-ups and the Mayor cited The Hebrew University, Hadassah and Sha'are Zedek as leading institutions that helped make that happen.
Hebrew University's Vice-President and Director-General Yishai Fraenkel, said, "One of the things that is most important in this industry is biotech and its connection to the academic world. This is where a lot of innovation is coming from. Artificial intelligence was born in academia and is now critical to so many startups. The connections between the university and the start-ups have massive potential."
Ran Meged, Merage Institute leader for the Israeli Lean Launchpad said, "The focus of the 2-month program is to teach and train entrepreneurs on paths from research to product and the transformation of ideas to business models, using the feedback of their potential customers and partners at the earliest stage possible. The first cycle focused on technologies in life sciences with a specific emphasis on ideas in digital health, medical devices and diagnostics. The next cycle will focus on early stage startups. We hope that soon everyone who is seeking funding for their startup will first participate in a Lean Launchpad program."
Among the companies with the potential for global impact is Genetika+. CEO Dr. Talia Cohen Solal notes that, "300 million people suffer from major depression a year. Many lose weeks, months and sometimes their lives waiting for their doctor to find the unique medication that is right for them. We want to take the search for the right prescription out of the patient and into the lab where it belongs."
Dr. Shai Harel, the academic director of the program and the head of the strategy and entrepreneurship division at the school of business administration said "The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the school of business administration see great importance in bringing the academic world to the industry practitioners. The school believes that the combination of the theoretical practice within the academic world and the practical side of the industry can bring about a change especially in entrepreneurial and innovative companies. The school strives to bring startup's CEOs cutting edge academic knowledge while making it practical and helpful, hence, we see great importance in this program and we intend to keep on developing it."
The next Lean Launchpad class is scheduled to take place this summer and the current group of graduates will participate in the prestigious Merage Lean Launchpad event in California.
Contact: Estee Yaari, Media Relations, Yissum, The Technology Transfer Company of The Hebrew University, [email protected]
About the Merage Institute
The Merage Institute is committed to promoting trade as a vehicle to economic growth between Israel and the United States. The institute accomplishes this through a number of innovative initiatives, including specialized Leadership Programs concerning U.S. marketing strategies to Israeli executives in the life sciences, security, military, IT areas and more. The MI programs emphasize highly effective approaches to successful marketing, negotiation techniques, applied networking and sales strategies, finance, and legal and procurement issues concerning conducting business with and within the United States. Faculty members in all of the Institute's leadership programs include professors from some of the finest business schools in America. Other faculty members are highly respected CEOs and leading practitioners. The Institute also features an innovative business development component beginning with introductions to relevant U.S. entrepreneurs who may be interested in cooperating with value-adding Israeli businesses.
Yissum is the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Founded in 1964, it is the third company of its kind to be established and serves as a bridge between cutting-edge academic research and a global community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry. Yissum's mission is to benefit society by converting extraordinary innovations and transformational technologies into commercial solutions that address our most urgent global challenges. Yissum has registered over 10,000 patents covering 2,800 inventions; licensed over 900 technologies and has spun out more than 176 companies. Yissum's business partners span the globe and include companies such as Boston Scientific, Google, ICL, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Microsoft, Novartis and many more. For further information please visit www.yissum.co.il
About Bio Jerusalem
BioJerusalem was funded by the Jerusalem Development Authority in order to leverage Jerusalem competitive advantage in the life sciences. BioJerusalem operates as a one-stop center for life sciences entrepreneurs, companies and investors operating in Jerusalem. BioJerusalem's goal is to serve as the catalyst for the development of the life sciences industry in Jerusalem through creating value for the life sciences community in Jerusalem. BioJerusalem's mission is to promote business development and connectivity for the life sciences industry in Jerusalem by streamlining investments, as well as advising and assisting companies in the city throughout their various stages of growth.
About StartUp Nation Central
Start-Up Nation Central is an independent non-profit that builds bridges to Israeli innovation. We connect business, government, and NGO leaders around the world to Israeli innovation; we help develop technological sectors with high-growth potential; and we accumulate knowledge and generate in-depth insights about Israel's innovation sector.
About Hebrew University
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) is Israel's leading academic and research institution. Serving 23,000 students from 80 countries, it produces a third of Israel's civilian research and is ranked 12th worldwide in biotechnology patent filings and commercial development. To date, HU faculty and alumni have won eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal. For more about Hebrew University, visit http://new.huji.ac.il/en.