The Summer Induction Program came and went…in its wake a newly hatched Zell class, Zell 12, or the 12th year of the program! Twenty two students from the faculties of law and business, economics, government, computer science, communications, business management and accounting have formed six teams and are presently ideating away! There are 6 women, 2 pilots, a professional basketball player, 7 students from computer science, of which four are experienced programmers, a former Israel national team gymnast, an Heseg scholar, five students technically finished with school and staying on for Zell, another brother sister combo (different teams) who share a Zell alumni sibling…plus a lot of motivation, drive and entrepreneurial spirit. See their bios on the Zell site.
Some more program news: Dana, our program coordinator got married this year and recently had a baby… mom and child are doing great! Liraz Sharabani of Zell 7 has stepped in to fill the gap during Dana’s maternity leave and get a chance to see the program from a different angle! Welcome Liraz, great to have you!
With Zell 12 in…(and after our traditional ZIZO (Zell In Zell out) event, we’ve sent Zell 11 out and about in the real world now…they had a great Zell year and developed some cool ideas in the program. One team, HocSpot had a working product launched by December. Two other ventures, BiggerGame and Crowdpic had working private betas by the end of the year, Gesta had a live public beta with real customers (of which I am proud to admit I was a satisfied one)…two teams were selected to compete and made it as finalists in SeedCamp Israel. HocSpot was offered an investment by SeedCampand lool ventures,but eventually turned them down and disbanded. Feex secured an investment of 100K US and just moved into their offices, Roomer had great exposure in the US trip and even walked away with a 18K US$ grant, Spoteam is seeking funds, and TenFoot was selected to participate in UpWest Labs, the Silicon Valley accelerator for Israeli start-ups, Ori there now.
Zellumni ventures (ventures started on the program or by Zell alumni after the program) like Wibbitz(Yotam Cohen and Zohar Dayan – Zell 9) made news after securing 2.3MUS$ from Horizons Ventures and winning theUK HubTeXchangecompetition, Bizzabo (Alon Alroy, Eran Ben Shushan and Boaz Katz – Zell 9) closed a second round with over 1MUS$ and launcheda few months back, Overwolf(Gil Or and Uri Marchand – Zell 8) also making the news….and recently winning the StartTWS 2012 competition, also Arnon Harish’s (Zell 8) Ironsource moved into new offices on Rotshschild and have grown to 70 employees, Ori Saltzman’s (Zell 1) Gogbotgot a new design…Eyal Baumel’s (Zell 8) Bites got back from UpWest labs, Karin Levi and Ofir Beigel’s (Zell 10) Weesh got back from DreamIt New York, Ohad Kedar’s (Zell 10) WeTrip is raising money,Segoma (Litan Yahav and Tomer Salvi Zell 10) secured financing and moved into new offices, and that is just the shortlist!
This past year was also marked by an incredible amount of alumni initiatives. Zell2Zell or Z2Z, an ad hoc bi-monthly peer group to share ideas, venture dilemmas etc. had bi- monthly meetings Zell4Zell a monthly peer group meeting kicked off and started several groups Zell Gives Back kicked off activities for Zellumni giving back to the community by taking on the creation of a technological virtual playground at the Rogozin Bialik school. The Sippers, or Zell 12 candidates were enlisted to the cause and took part in the design and business proposal challenge during the summer, and now architects, who have agreed to take the project on pro bono, have started the planning. Next is fundraising!
Great new academic year, great new Hebrew calendar year to us all!