Tel Aviv U. launches fuel substitutes accelerator

Program to operate with goal of encouraging start-ups to engage in the fields of intelligent transportation and alternative fuels.

Tel Aviv University campus (photo credit: PR)
Tel Aviv University campus
(photo credit: PR)
With the goal of encouraging startups to engage in the fields of intelligent transportation and alternative fuels, the National Research Institute for Transportation Innovation at Tel Aviv University will soon be launching an accelerator program for relevant entrepreneurs.
The accelerator is expected to open its first round in December as part of the brand new research institute, which the university established in August in collaboration with the Alternative Fuels Administration in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Because the multidisciplinary institute operates under the joint umbrella of TAU’s Porter School of Environmental Studies and faculty of engineering, entrepreneurs participating in the fourto- six-month accelerator programs will be housed in a shared work space in the university’s “capsule” building – the new home of the Porter School.
“From the university’s perspective, this is a unique experiment in joining hands with Israeli start-up industries, incorporating the best of the academic world with the best of hi-tech entrepreneurship,” said Prof. Dan Rabinowitz, head of the Porter School and the Institute for Transportation Innovation.
The budget for the program is expected to be about NIS 1 million annually, and will be implemented in cooperation with EcoMotion, an Israel-based global community of entrepreneurs in the smart transportation industry.
During their time in the accelerator, each entrepreneurial team will receive financial support of about NIS 100,000 in cash, as well as consulting services from experts in business, technology and the automotive industry. Support for the program will come from local investors, experienced entrepreneurs, academics, local authorities and both local and international companies, according to the accelerator’s founders.
Ultimately the goal is to guide entrepreneurs through the first stages of their activities and help them acquire their first outside investments at the end of the program, the founders explained.
“The accelerator is designed to try to cope with the lack of infrastructure supporting the realization of unique ideas in the field of intelligent transportation, and is a direct continuation of the community’s activities,” said EcoMotion director Boaz Mamo.
“I have no doubt that this development of infrastructure, which will serve about 10 entrepreneurs per year within the framework of a physical accelerator, and several dozens of projects in a virtual cycle, is needed due to the activities of the community for the past two years, and will help us realize and strengthen ideas, while attracting new entrepreneurs to the field.”
Eyal Rosner, director of the Alternative Fuels Administration, emphasized that the accelerator’s launch would contribute to the country’s overall goal of becoming a hub of innovation for the fuel substitutes industry.
His administration began operating in 2011, partnering with 10 ministries to help make the country a global hub of knowledge in the industry, and to increase the use of oil substitutes by 60 percent in 2025.
“The establishment of the accelerator is an additional step of the Alternative Fuels Administration in building up the capacity of Israel, which will enable in the future global leadership in the fields of transportation innovation and alternative solutions to oil,” Rosner said.