Call for culture

A roundup of the week's local news.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
TEL AVIV Mayor Ron Huldai, speaking at the annual Globes Business Conference, called on the government to increase the budget for culture. The White City allocates six percent of its budget to culture, he said, adding that this sum is 12 times the amount that the national government allocates for culture. Huldai also made the point that artists should have complete freedom of expression, even if that expression is occasionally difficult to accept.
■ IN THE last week of November, as part of his visit to Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Mayor Ron Huldai and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, visited the HEMDA Schwartz-Reisman Science Education Center, where he met with HEMDA director Dr. Tehilla Ben-Gai, professional staff and students.
Netanyahu told them their program was very interesting, important and worth replicating. The prime minister also referred to the 3-D printers: “This is the future of the manufacturing process and will bring about a major revolution,” he said. “It will be possible to print bridges, cars, tables, shoes – everything. This means that the advantage of size will be canceled. Up until today in order to manufacture, one needed many people. This is changing; today one needs machines. As a state, this could give us a considerable advantage.”
■ MORE THAN 25 of the world’s largest multinational corporations will gather at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on December 16 for the Axis Tel Aviv Corporate Edition, an event aimed at connecting international companies actively looking to invest in Israel with the country’s top start-ups.
Senior representatives from companies including AVG, Ford, GE, Tyco, GM, ProSieben, and more will participate in what is believed to be the only event in Israel connecting global entities with leading Israeli startups, assisting them to break into the local ecosystem in the optimal platform for networking and deal making.
Emphasizing that it is no secret that a large influx of international companies and corporate investors have recently demonstrated interest in Israel, Axis Innovation CEO Ed Frak attributed this to “the unique breadth of innovation and creativity that has made Israel, and particularly Tel Aviv, a global hi-tech hub, some say a close second to Silicon Valley.” The upcoming event was organized to provide a platform for Israel’s leading startups and global companies to pitch to each other, network and support a full-face dialogue for partnerships to be created to benefit both parties, said Frank.
Now its second year, the 2015 Corporate Edition is one of the biggest events of its kind to be hosted in Israel, with a mission to target global corporate venture branches.
The event’s participating startups will hail from a variety of tech sectors, including big data, cloud, cyber security, mobile, fintech and e-commerce, each of which will have designated sessions and will include pitches from each corporate panelist, followed by startup pitches and feedback from the panel. In addition, there will be roundtable discussions, keynote speakers and networking sessions to provide optimal networking abilities.
■ MANAGING LABORATORY supplies was one of the tasks for which Helen Rabinovich was responsible as part of her doctoral duties while pursuing her degree at the Technion’s Schulich Faculty of Chemistry. Overseeing the management of supplies – which included the ordering, storage, tracking and disposal of lab materials – consumed much of her time, which she could otherwise have put into her research.
Rabinovich’s spouse, Alex Domeshek, who holds an engineering degree from Technion’s Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, came to her rescue by developing an innovative system for managing lab supplies – LabSuit. Rumor of the new system quickly spread throughout campus, with LabSuit being implemented in increasing numbers of chemistry laboratories as well as research facilities at other Technion faculties. Labsuit’s success at the Technion made Domeshek and Rabinovich realize that they had a start-up in their hands.
The innovation sparked by their private love story transformed into a nationwide social network of labs within a few months. From a successful but small beginning amongst their peers at the Technion, more than 200 laboratories and 1,000 researchers later, the numbers are growing fast.
“The Technion name opens up doors,” says Domeshek, “and this is how I managed to find a job in the Silicon Valley that was looking for a Technion graduate right after graduation. Yet by then I had already caught the innovation bug, and I knew, even before returning from the US, that the next thing for me would be a private venture rather than entering a corporate job. Innovative thinking is nurtured and promoted at Technion through entrepreneurial courses, competitions such as BizTEC and various accelerator programs run by the Bronica Entrepreneurship Center at Technion. We have been able to capture this spirit in LabSuit.”
Rabinovich and Domeshek founded LabSuit at the end of 2013. Their mutual friend Ira Blekhman, an MBA student at the Open University, joined the venture shortly afterward. “LabSuit is a really awesome virtual community” relates Blekhman, “because it is built to serve various management levels, allowing individual researchers to use it according to their momentary needs.