Israeli Pitch Dark Startup Contest Winner Gets Spot in the Limelight
21 Israel-based startups battled to win the favor of judges in complete darkness at an event hosted by Citigroup in Jaffa Monday
Naomi Zoref | 10:33 06.11.2018
21 startups battled to win the favor of judges in complete darkness at an event hosted by Citigroup in Jaffa Monday. Each company had five minutes to present its products, and finalists went on to present their companies from behind a curtain. The winner: Avenews-GT, an agricultural produce trading platform that uses blockchain technology.
For daily updates, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here.The contest, called “Pitch in the Dark,” was held in collaboration with Visa, Israel Discount Bank Ltd., and Nasdaq-listed software company Intuit Inc., with Calcalist as a media partner.
Tsafrir Attar (left), Baat Enosh, Yael Visbord Suchary, Avenews-GT co-founder Ismail Kharoub, Roi Ben Daniel. Photo: Amit Sha'alThe unusual setup was meant to increase objectivity, in hope of creating a more diverse tech hub in the country, said Ornit Shinar, head of venture investments in Israel for Citi. While the setup made for a new experience, her eventual choice of company would have probably been the same if it was held with the lights on, said Irit Kahan, a managing director at Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners and one of the judges at the competition. Kahan did say that the body-language of entrepreneurs pitching their companies impacts the assessment of companies. Founded in 2017 and based in Tel Aviv, Avenews-GT aims to connect industrial buyers directly with the farmers, also providing management, logistics and financial tools to smaller sellers, explained co-founder Ismail Kharoub, who also serves as the company's chief technology officer. Israel-based Ladingo Ltd., founded earlier this year, came in at second place. The company develops a system for optimizing cargo containers that enables maritime shipping companies to combine several international deliveries from one country to another. Its service lets private consumers order from many different retailers, and Ladingo coordinates the various orders into one shipment, drastically reducing costs.