Venturegeeks showcased the first batch of startups as a part of the Spring 2011 Investor Day that took place at IBM on July 14, 2011.
some of the teams in this class have already received some form of follow-up funding and are valued in millions of dollars. The feedback from the audience was extremely positive and overall – with no bias intended – mostly everyone now believes in the validity of such a program in the Israeli market.
Below are short summaries of the first Venturegeeks graduation class:
LassoIt – Turning the Web into a personalized language-learning experience.
LassoIt seamlessly integrates a language-learning process into your natural web surfing experience. LassoIt finds texts online that match your current language level and interests, and helps you learn as you read. It then optimizes learning through repetition and practice. As your vocabulary grows, so does the level of texts LassoIt brings you.
6Scan – The world’s first automated protection suite against website hackers
6Scan’s technology uses proactive protection to close security holes before hackers find them. 6Scan’s threat scanner harnesses the power of cloud computing to continually monitor websites for known and unknown security issues, immediately neutralizing them. The product is easy-to-use and designed for website owners with no technical or security knowledge.
VerData – Social Location-Based Commerce
VerData has developed a free mobile platform for businesses, along with a simple web site, that enables them to publish special deals in their location-based mobile app called “Shop Rooster”.
Most deals are specially tailored for the app, and are redeemed by showing the deal screen on the phone. The deals are very attractive but not as extreme as in daily deal sites. This allows the business to attract foot traffic into their store and increase sales, while also keeping his profit margin reasonable.
The application is free to download from the app store and once opened, the app uses the smartphone’s location info (GPS and cellular) to know where the user is and show him/her a list of businesses that offer special deals around his/her location.
Sleeve – Students Go Social
Sleeve offers a full social ecosystem for students, teachers and education vendors. Students can get a live feed from their classmate’s notebooks or from the teacher’s smart blackboard, see exactly what others are writing during class and add their personal notes. Packed with cool features, Sleeve lets students get the most out of their learning experience.
Nogeno – Your Music Looks Good
Nogeno is the ultimate online platform for musicians to create a unique music business card by displaying, promoting, selling and sharing their music online with established audiences and newly discovered fans. A unique algorithm identifies other users’ musical profiles and offers them new music that suits their personal taste. Video: goo.gl/eBEX8
We’ve had some very positive responses from the mentors and investors who took part in the Demo Day event. The local press coverage has been beautiful as well: Calcalist , The Marker and Maariv.
Winter 2012 is now accepting applications
After the class of spring 2011 has departed, we are now starting to formally accept applications for the next class which is planned to begin by the end of this year. To apply fo to http://www.venturegeeks.org/apply.
Starting your adventure at VentureGeeks? You’re in for a wild ride!
a guest post by Nitzan Miron - founder and CEO at 6scan
Lots of things are going to happen, faster than you can really deal with them, so you’d best learn to improvise and not worry too much. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to take all that VG has to offer.
Talk to the team, talk to them often
The VG team has plenty of other work to do besides answer your questions, but don’t let that stop you from asking their advice at every turn.
Even if they don’t know the answer, they’ll usually send you straight to a person who’s been in your situation five times and knows exactly what to do. Take advantage of that.
Cooperate with the other teams as much as you can
The other startups are dealing with the same problems you are. They have the same internal debates, and the same things bring them down. Ask them for help. Pitch your idea to them, together and separately, regularly, and especially after you pivot. Use them as sounding boards.
Always be ready to present to any audience
You’re going to get the chance to talk to many leaders in the industry: mentors, potential business partners and investors. Most of those chances are going to be by surprise or with only a few minutes’ notice.
Never be in a position where you don’t have a 5-minute pitch for someone.
At 6Scan, we had an 18-slide presentation that went over many different aspects of the product: technical, market, positioning, financials, team, etc. For each guest, we’d select the 7-9 most relevant of those slides and build a 5-10 minute presentation.
It gets to a point where you only need 60 seconds to choose the slides and you’re ready to present.
Make the most of the lectures, even the irrelevant ones
yes, I know you’re the CEO and you don’t really care that Ruby on Rails runs 4% faster on nginx.
You do care, however, about the fact that the guy presenting is one of the top Ruby on Rails developers in Israel and he can probably connect you to the people you’ll want to hire as soon as you close an investment. Maybe he can even help you with a design problem you’re facing right now.
So resist the urge to tune out and play with your iPhone; listen attentively, and ask intelligent questions – even if you think it’s a waste of time!
It’ll be that much easier to ask the presenter for help later on if he remembers you as the guy that asked the right questions, and not the guy who looked bored.
We opened the doors to Venturegeeks on April 10th with the first 5 teams. The first challenge was for them to prepare a short presentation to give to our mentor community 2 days later.
Donna Abraham, Boyer Communication, was able to give each team a few of her precious hours to get the presentations sharpened. And then the next 24 hours consisted of practice, practice, and then some more practice before they would be ready for the opening event that took place on April 12.
The opening event found over 100 of the Israeli startup community at the Venturegeeks facility to hear about the first “class” as well as to see this new facility. In attendance was David Moche who was representing the US based fund that supports Venturgeeks.
Focus - Unique Value Proposition
Following the Passover break we’ve been working intently on getting the teams developing their specific project plans for the overall period within the accelerator as well as focusing on their “unique value proposition”. These 2 items will drive the success of each of the teams and will enable them to show-off their success as well as the overall advantage of this type of accelerator program.
Each one of the teams now has at least mentor who will provide the guidance for them during their stay in Venturegeeks. There has been much interest in the teams – partially generated by the initial opening and event – and some of the teams boast other mentors (some from the international team) and an initial interest from some investors.
As we head into month #2 we expect to see the teams move towards some customer verification that will prove viability of their value proposition and bring them individuals who are willing “guinea pigs” for their implementations.
As for the management team, we are already looking toward the “investor day” event which will take place on July 14th – stay tuned for more info on the location (physical and virtual).
Last week on March 16th we had the honour of hosting a delegation of angels and investors in the soon-to-be-opened Venturegeeks facilities. The visit was organized by Claire Munck, Managing Director for The European Trade Association for Business Angels and Seed Funds (or EBAN for short).
Though we haven’t officially opened the doors this was an opportunity for the Venturegeeks team to get a leap on one of the major challenges of the program – to reach out to other investor communities who might be interested in the companies that will be coming through Venturegeeks.
The “study visit” members consisted of representatives from the Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, Finland, India, Italy, Turkey and UK & Scotland. The group had already been with Microsoft’s R&D center in Herzelia earlier the same day, and had met with some Israeli seed and angel groups as well as with MATIMOP, the Israeli government agency promoting international R&D programs between Israeli and foreign entities. They headed up to the Technion on the following day.
An open Discussion about accelerators
We all enjoyed some coffee and refreshments and then we presented Venturegeeks accelerator as a new opportunity for the startup community and the VC and angels industry.
The Venturegeeks team had a very open discussion with the delegation and we were pleasantly surprised about their knowledge of accelerators in general. There were comments on other programs that essentially leave the entrepreneur on his own vices until the final presentation day which is obviously a risky practice. We made it quite clear that Venturegeeks is very much a “hands-on” approach since that is where we see the need with the local startup community.
As with other interested parties, we will be adding these group to our growing list of individuals who will be invited to the final “demo/investor day” – either in person of virtually.
you can see the pictures from the event on our Facebook Page .
Startup Weekend is over and we’ve started working on the new space that would accommodate the startups in the Venturegeeks program. We are tearing down walls and floor, rebuilding ceilings, adding wall-to-wall carpets and of course repainting the walls (if you have ideas for patterns or colors you are more than welcome to share) so we can make it the best space to work in for the teams in the program.
Want to see more pictures? join our Facebook page.
We’ve been asked by many entrepreneurs who have only heard about the program recently to extend the deadline by a few more days in order to let them organize their team and apply to the program.
So, due to the popular demand we’ve decided that we will make a one time exception and postpone the deadline to March 7th, a week from today. Although this leaves us with a very tight schedule for the application processing stage, we prefer giving you another chance to submit your application.
So if you haven’t done so already, you now have one more week. It doesn’t mean you have to wait for the last minute though. we are accepting and reviewing applications as they come, meaning the sooner you apply, the better your chance is to be accepted into the program.
Photographer: Gilad Steinberger
Two days after we wrapped up Startup Weekend Tel Aviv-Jaffa at The Peres Peace House and We’re still recovering. The energy of working with 100+ entrepreneurs and watching them move from idea to product is exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.
We started the event with 39 ideas pitched from the mixed audience – men and women, religious and secular, Jew and Arab and all permutations in between. The ideas ranged from driving a cultural revolution to child education, but because of the nature of Startup Weekend we needed to pare down the list to 10, and within those 10 we had to create teams that could develop the ideas further in the following 50+ hours.
Have you ever had an idea, an “itch to scratch”, and didn’t know how to start working on it or with whom?
Maybe you wanted to get a closer look at the people behind the “Startup Nation”? Or perhaps you are looking for a team to join.
Any or all of these statements are valid reasons to be interested in Startup Weekend. Coming this week from 23-25 February at The Peres Center for Peace, Newsgeek and CLOUDS ‘R US will be bringing Startup Weekend to Tel Aviv-Jaffa for the third time.
Presenting : Startup weekend
If you are not already familiar with the event then Startup Weekend is a 3 day, 50 hour exercise of taking startup ideas and bringing them to fruition in ad-hoc teams. People from across the entrepreneurial community – developers, biz dev, graphic designers, marketers, lawyers, accountants, whatever – can pitch their “itch” and then work on the concept in a highly electrified atmosphere.
The outcome of Startup Weekends are many but to point out the most salient ones: the ideas are sometimes very interesting and many of the concepts continue to be developed after the event; and the networking is amazing – you really get to know your team members.
170 cities around the globe
Startup Weekend takes place in over 170 cities around the globe. But of course, the local version has its twists. First off, the event doesn’t actually take place on a “weekend” but runs from Wednesday afternoon to Friday until an hour before the Jewish Sabbath. The second twist is that Palestinian participation is actively sought and over 20 attendees from the PA are anticipated.
So what does all this have to with Venturegeeks?
Startup Weekend addresses the same population as does Venturegeeks and it doesn’t take too much imagination to see that how concepts from Startup Weekend could eventually end up as applicants to the accelerator program. Underlying a lot of this activity is a continual education process which it is hoped will improve the viability of the Israeli entrepreneur and increase the overall success of the Israeli startup world.
Not to be forgotten, but Startup Weekend is a real “blast” which can be noted by the fact that a number of people continue to come back for more.
You should check it out at http://tel-aviv.startupweekend.org
The number of tickets is limited!
Step 1 – Startup Nation
Working on a new startup. Startup Weekend Israel, 2010
Over the past 2 years we have been introduced to plenty of good, bad and great ideas almost every day. We know that there are many more ideas in the Israeli tech community that only need that small push of funding and some guidance in order to make great things happen.
We all know that Israel is being called the “Startup Nation” for good reason. After exploring most of the startup accelerators in the U.S and Europe we thought that there is no reason why we shouldn’t nurture our own startups here in Israel instead of losing great people and ideas to other countries. We also know that there is a large gap between having an idea and starting up a company and to really make it work. That’s exactly what Venturegeeks is here to help you with.
Step 2 – The team
Geekmedia has joined forces with S. David Moche, a qualified US-based investor, to create a great opportunity for the best teams to get initial funding, mentorship, facilities and operational support in order to prepare themselves for the seed funding stage. We also thought that we need an action man, an experienced and well connected partner in the startup community. So we joined forces with Eddy Resnick, who will be leading our events and production efforts. We currently have a US-Based board of advisors with vast connections to the US technology and capital industry. We have already started filling out the seats for our Israeli board with great experienced people as well.
Step 3 – The platform and people
The most important base of this kind of venture is a community of great people who are tech savvy, and for that we are very proud of having the most successful tech blog in Israel, Newsgeek.co.il . More than 100,000 readers every month enjoy our platform whose high level tech writers cover the most important technology news, events and startups
Step 4 – The events
We are known for our presence in each and every major event in the industry as media partners and starting this year we’ll be part of the Startup Weekend production team in Israel. We currently have planned events in Haifa and Beer-Sheva, and Tel Aviv and we are also working on a new type of events for a more mature startup type companies.
Step 5 – The Mentors
A great startup accelerator program needs great mentors. We’ve contacted some of the best entrepreneurs, investors, VCs, angel and technology gurus in the industry – the ones with passion to help and guide the startups of the future. We invited them to participate in the program, and until now, more than 40 of them have joined forces with us with a true will to share their experience and help entrepreneurs on their way to become a success.
Step 6 – Partners and Global Network
Our partnership with major players in the industry such as IBM, ICQ, Google, Microsoft and many many others, will surely help us bring the best teams to the final stages and create an interest to the VC’s and angels. We are also engaged with VC’s across the world so we will be able to present your ideas to other markets as needed.
Step 7 – The space
We are currently based in Kiryat Siv, Petach Tikva. We will be hosting the chosen teams in our offices and let the good energies take over. We think it is really important to make you feel as comfortable as possible so you will be able to focus on planning and executing your ideas.
Step 8 - Your ideas
We depend on your great minds, personalities and ideas to succeed. We believe that although you have a little experience in raising funds and becoming established companies, you have what it takes to turn your dreams into reality and keep working until the idea becomes a truly profitable operation. We will help you turn your ideas into real ventures.
Step 9 – The Process
We’ve built a screening process that will help us estimate your chances in becoming a successful company. We know that you don’t necessarily know how to write a business plan, or a great presentation, so this will be one of our first goals, to help you in doing just that.
Eventually, we want to choose only great teams and great ideas. It’s important to understand that only the best of the best will enter the program. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will not be able to get into the program, and even if you didn’t succeed this time – we really want you to work on your idea some more and come back to us in the following semester.
Step 10 – The chosen ones
We expect that the teams which participated and graduate from the program will be able to get funded, and succeed in creating traction and interest throughout the technology community in Israel and worldwide.