Techstars Israel’s Demo Day 2020 highlights future of startups in a post-Covid-19 world
Coming off a 13-week course, 10 startups from Israel and Denmark celebrate their successes in a physical location
The event was held in the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, a Jaffa-based auditorium overlooking the sea. Usually, the mentorships and programs were restricted to a hybrid model balancing a co-working space and online classes. However, for the Demo Day it was opened up to all participants.
In total, all 10 startups spoke in front of the live-audience and the streamed viewers at home. The event was followed by an off-camera celebration with food, music, and emotional goodbyes - all in accordance with the regulations of the Israeli Minitry of Health.
Techstars’ Tel Aviv program is one of 60 around the world, with other cities including Toronto, London, Singapore, and New York. Tel Aviv Managing Director Hilla Ovil-Brenner comes from a background in entrepreneurship herself and was invited by Techstars to run operations on the ground.After the event, which CTech attended, Ovil-Brenner spoke exclusively about the experience of overseeing first-time entrepreneurs and trying to run a conventional accelerator program in unconventional times. She felt a personal attachment to some of the challenges faced by the companies during the mentorship, fundraising, and announcements.
“We are super proud that we did this over Covid-19,” said Ovil-Brenner when speaking with CTech. “A lot of accelerators didn’t open their hubs but we felt it was a great idea… We have a great space in town and we kept all the (social distancing) rules."
Ovil-Brenner herself has raised more than $40 million across three separate companies she has founded. And while she admits that “some have succeeded and some have failed,” the experience of moving from entrepreneur to more of a mentor and investor role has been significant.“I feel for these companies,” she told CTech. “I feel a part of their lives.” Due to the size and scope of Techstars, much of the 13-week program could take place online and take advantage of its global network of mentors and investors. According to Ovil-Brenner, 20 other entrepreneurs-turned-managing directors from around the world ‘checked in’ with the Tel Aviv scene to help them penetrate markets from around the world.
During the Demo Day, Techstars played a pre-recorded interview with Eyal Waldman, former CEO of Mellanox, in a discussion that lasted roughly 15 minutes. The interview was conducted by Ovil-Brenner, who described him as a “role model” for the startups and the tech ecosystem at large.
To find out more about each company, click here.