TARBOOT contest announces startup winners

TARBOOT is an international technology innovation competition dealing with the digital use of heritage and cultural content.

 Finalists and judges of the TARBOOT competition at the National Library of Israel. (photo credit: Yonatan Boger)
Finalists and judges of the TARBOOT competition at the National Library of Israel.
(photo credit: Yonatan Boger)

The TARBOOT competition announced its winners on Wednesday night at the National Library of Israel.

TARBOOT is an international technology innovation competition dealing with the digital use of heritage and cultural content. The competition, in partnership with Yad Hanadiv, a pillar of the Rothschild Family Foundation, saw more than 400 submissions eying for a cash prize of up to $3 million to implement their proposals.

The winners were selected from 7 finalists, each submitting in a different field: general track, start-up track, and student track.

The winner for the general track was “The Time Machine,” a technology that can take in information from the Library, Wikipedia and other objective sources to present it in a timeline form, making it easier for consumption.

For the start-up track, the winner was “ASAT (As Simple As That),” a natural language processing and text tool that breaks down complex content in video, audio and websites and displays it to viewers in a clear way that does not diminish its meaning and information.

 An architectural rendering of the new National Library of Israel’s main reading room. (© Herzog & de Meuron; Mann-Shinar Architects, Executive Architect) (credit: NLI) An architectural rendering of the new National Library of Israel’s main reading room. (© Herzog & de Meuron; Mann-Shinar Architects, Executive Architect) (credit: NLI)

The student tack winner was “Billions of Words,” which applies artificial intelligence to the Library’s image search to create an easy way to search through visual archives of photos, posters and maps.

What do the winners get?

The three winners will be immediately awarded $50,000 in cash to begin implementation, with the remaining pool of $3 million to be allocated as they progress. 

“We are very proud of the important relationship formed between the younger generation and the hi-tech community with regard to the Library’s content and goals," said Chairman of the National Library of Israel Sallai Meridor. "In this connection… lies great hope for Israel and the National Library of Israel.”

TARBOOT was established to encourage innovation in the space of historical artifacts and works, suiting well with the National Library of Israel, whose mission is to be the “Library of the Jewish people, the State of Israel for all its citizens, and the Land of Israel and its region throughout the ages.” The panel of judges for the contest consisted of individuals such as Hannah Rothschild from Yad Hanadiv, Chemi Peres, the co-founder of Pitango VC and the son of former president Shimon Peres, Lila Tretikov, the deputy CTO and VP at Microsoft, and Avishay Ovadia, a founding partner at Collider Ventures, among others.

Hannah Rothschild said after the event that it was “incredibly heartwarming… how many people share the mission of the National Library to make history and culture a part of everyday life.”