Kinoko Tech, founded by scientists Drs. Dalia Feldman, Jasmin Ravid and Hadar Shohat, is the 2022 winner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Asper Prize for Emerging Startups. The 100,000 NIS cash prize was awarded by ASPER-HUJI Innovate - The Innovation Center of the Hebrew University, a Center created to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit amongst students, researchers, and alumni at Hebrew University.
Forty-five startup companies participated in the competition which focused on sustainability solutions. All were created by HU alumni or using HU intellectual property. Participation in the competition was predicated on the usage of cutting-edge technologies and adherence to the United Nations’ development goals (SDGs). Each company needed to specify the SDG goal it aimed to address and the forecasted social impact of their technology.
During the course of the competition, entrepreneurs met with prominent investors from Israel’s leading venture capital funds to receive feedback and improve their chances to raise capital. Those same investors picked the five finalists. The five finalists then presented their startups ideas to a panel of members from HU’s Board of Governors. The panel included of Harel Beit-On, Chairman of HU’s Board of Managers, Michal Tzur, HU alumna and Co-founder and President of Kaltura, Gail Asper, President of The Asper Foundation, and Moses “Moe” Levy, Executive Director of The Asper Foundation.
Professor Asher Cohen, President of the Hebrew University, greeted the participants: "In recent years, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has become a significant catalyst for companies across a wide range of verticals. There is no doubt that the knowledge and tools that students acquire here will help them build technologies that will benefit all humankind, with a special focus on sustainability and battling climate change.”
Gail Asper, President of The Asper Foundation, referred to the competing companies and highlighted the Prizes' purpose: “We encourage more companies and start-ups to work towards creating a positive impact on our society and environment through innovative technologies. With the Asper Prize, we’re delighted to recognize the innovators who are striving to create a better future for humanity. We would also like to thank the team at ASPER-HUJI Innovate for their efforts to expand entrepreneurial thinking to every area of study.”
Dr. Amnon Dekel, Executive Director of ASPER-HUJI Innovate - The Innovation Center of the Hebrew University, congratulated the winners, sharing: “Every startup we’ve seen today embodies the cutting edge of the intersection between business and social impact. Businesses that can generate revenues while improving the world they inhabit are an important model for a sustainable future. We’re proud of the startups that participated in the competition and are looking forward to seeing next year’s contestants.”