Just days away from our upcoming Summer Alumni Event Zellebration, where we raise a toast to the class that just completed the Zell year (Zell 9-2010) and the class that just graduated (Zell 8-2009)…and just because (Zell 7-2008 do not miss a chance to party!). We will also raise a toast to celebrate the growing trend of Zellaboration.
It is a fitting opportunity to share what the Zell network has yielded of late. The story begins with Walyou, a blog started during the program (Zell 6- 2007) as the first stage of a venture in consumer electronics recommendations, which eventually got seed funding and has developed an incredible following with 1.15 million page views last month. Walyou was where Wibiya, another Zell venture (Zell 7- 2008), got its start implementing a generic toolbar for bloggers as a pilot. Wibya bootstrapped until its angel investment from Yossi Vardi and now finished a round of US2million. They have incredible traction and to date are implemented in over 30,000 blogs and serving over 30 million toolbars daily.
This year, Wibbitz (Zell 9- 2010) will be offering its video compilation technology for blogs and content web-sites on the Wibiya toolbar after running a pilot with Walyou starting this month. They are running the pilot with the online Israeli business newspaper TheMarker concurrently and are in discussions with the Chicago Tribune for cooperation with them as well. Bottom line: When in Zell, choose a name with a “W” and then, Zellaborate!
And on another Zellaboration note: Israel’s first acquisition in Israel is LabPixies, a company founded by four friends, one of whom is Oded Poncz (Zell 2-2003). And another example of the Zell network, Yaron Carni (Zell2-2003) led the first round
investment in LabPixies through the small angel group he represents in Israel (Mark Gerson is among the investors).
In other Zell news, we just got back from Chicago and NYC on the annual Zell study trip. We visited companies such as Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder to Graj & Gustavsen, Take Two, Oberon, Max Brenner, Nanoosh, BBDO and presented ventures at an entrepreneurs’ round table led by Yaron Galai of Outbrain and Avner Ronen of Boxee, visted Columbia and took a specially tailored entrepreneurship module at Booth, met alumni (at least one from each class joined us along the way! Except for Zell 7)…Great seeing you guys! And had a chance to present some of the ventures at the TechAviv NYC Meetup. See: www.techaviv.com
Also thought you would like to know, one of our alumni at Booth, Gili Haberman was part of a team awarded the VCIC competition gold medal and one of the winners of “50 for the Future” – Illinois’ most promising technology students. Gili graduated with an MBA from Booth this May. Also graduated, Yuval Refua and Adi Echouse, both (Zell 5-2006) with MBAs from Columbia.
Ori Zaltzman (Zell 1-2001), CTO & Co-Founder, Gogobot, a stealth-stage startup based in Palo Alto, California is aiming to revolutionize the online travel space. Eyal Buamel (Zell 8-2009) is off to NYC to promote Sprophet, a social gaming platform where sports fans showcase and share their sports knowledge and passion by making predictions on real sports events. See: http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000567394