Israel’s Ben-Gurion University sparks innovation from within, launching deep-tech Oazis accelerator

Christel Deskins

Yazamut360, the entrepreneurship center of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), announces the launch of its Oazis Accelerator. Powered by IBM Alpha Zone, Oazis is an academy-based accelerator that leverages BGU’s advantages in technology and entrepreneurship to grow deep-tech startups. The accelerator program, which is managed by Michel Assayag, will […]

Yazamut360, the entrepreneurship center of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), announces the launch of its Oazis Accelerator. Powered by IBM Alpha Zone, Oazis is an academy-based accelerator that leverages BGU’s advantages in technology and entrepreneurship to grow deep-tech startups. The accelerator program, which is managed by Michel Assayag, will also be working in collaboration with BGN Technologies, the technology company of BGU.

The program’s main focus is to promote from within, tapping into the bright and entrepreneurial minds of the university, creating a self-sustaining flow of innovation. Honestly, if you think about it, then it just makes sense, especially as COVID has changed our reality, expanding rapid demand for various technological solutions. The combination of IBM’s business expertise and top of the line labs and facilities provided by BGU should hopefully spark yet another problem solving ecosystem in the Startup Nation.

“The Oazis accelerator enables BGU’s leading researchers to broaden their understanding in business-related aspects and in translating the knowledge developed in the labs into business initiatives. In addition, the accelerator helps the researchers find partners for establishing companies and promotes the conversion of outstanding research into successful startup companies,” said Prof. Carmel Sofer, Chairman of Yazamut360

The Oazis demo day featured six startups from various fields, including: MedTech, AdTech, sustainability and software developments. Ben Gurion University has quickly cemented itself as a leading tech innovator among the trove of top Israeli universities. In addition to now launching a deep-tech focused accelerator, further enriching not only the academic center but the city’s growing innovation offering, which is already labeled as the Israeli cyber-capital. Participating startups will receive over a hundred thousand dollars worth of cloud space, as well as be able to tap into IBM’s globally experienced network and leading customer list.

The following 6 startups will take part in the accelerator’s first ever batch, gaining extensive lab-to-market value:

MirageDynamics

Jihad El-Sana from the Department of Computer Sciences at BGU, an expert on image processing, video, augmented reality, and computer vision, developed a technology that automatically expands available advertising space. By using deep learning algorithms, the unique technology enables automatic detection of video ads, calculation of exposure indices for each ad and integration of new ads that are matched to the viewer and to the content of the video. MirageDynamics creates new video ad space, thereby enabling content providers and owners of ad infrastructures to automatically integrate virtual ads and increase sales from advertising.

Panacea

Panacea’s technology was developed by Prof. Boaz Lerner, the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at BGU, and is based on machine learning in order to streamline clinical trials. The technology offers pharmaceutical companies a tool for reducing the steep costs and long development time of clinical trials, and even more importantly, increasing the chances for a successful drug development process. Panacea’s technology helps biopharma companies optimize characterization of patients that will respond to the drug under development, select appropriate drug doses and identify potential pitfalls at the early stages of clinical studies.

NeuroHelp

NeuroHelp develops a system for detecting and predicting epileptic seizures based on a unique combination of EEG-based monitoring of brain activity together with proprietary machine-learning algorithms. The wearable device can generate an advanced warning about an upcoming seizure that will be sent to a smartphone up to an hour prior to its onset. The system was developed by Dr. Oren Shriki and his team at the Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, BGU.

Testory

Testory presents a platform for automated QA processes that enables software analysis based on Story Based Testing. This unique technology enables QA personnel to easily and effectively map millions of behavioral patterns and all system usage modes, which are not amenable for current analysis. Currently, there are no available tools that provide a wide enough coverage of possible pitfalls and consequently, significant bugs are detected after the product has reached the customers. Testory provides solutions on two levels: on the one hand, mapping of all possible scenarios. On the other hand, when the system detects bugs it tags the scenarios that failed and provides the developers with all necessary information for diagnosing and understanding the problem in order to solve it. The technology is based on research by Prof. Gera Wiess, the Department of Computer Science and Dr. Achiya Elyasaf, the Software and Information Systems Engineering Department, both at BGU.

Flanimus

Flanimus, based on an invention by Prof. Gabby Sarusi, Deputy Head for Research at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a faculty member of the Electro-Optical Engineering Unit at BGU, developed a simple, one-minute breathalyzer test for diagnosing the coronavirus at the cost of three dollars per test. In comparison, currently available PCR tests cost 100 dollars per test, with results available only after 1-2 days. The Flanimus test can be performed at any location and by any operator, without the need for trained staff or dedicated labs. The device comprises two main parts: a disposable capsule with a chip inside and a spectrometer. After breathing into the capsule, it is inserted into the spectrometer, and the spectral signature of the virus is detected using proprietary software.

3D-Green

3D-Green is developing raw materials for 3D printers from recycled plastic bottles, thus reducing costs and increasing availability while protecting the environment. Instead of currently available plastic spools, 3D-Green‘s product uses widely available plastic bottles, converting them into raw plastic material for 3D printers. The technology was developed by Itai Yair, graduate of Industrial Engineering and Management program at BGU.

Josh Peleg, CEO of BGN Technologies added, “Oazis is a unique initiative in the Israeli academic landscape, and an important tool for accelerating the conversion of innovative applicable research originating from BGU into startups that will develop innovative products. It is noteworthy that since the beginning of the year we recorded a 30% increase, compared to the corresponding period in 2019, in the number of patent applications based on research from BGU. This is a testament to the burst of innovation and entrepreneurship of the ecosystem surrounding the university, of which Oazis is a part of, and which will lead to regional growth and transformation of the Negev into a center of knowledge, innovation and technology.”

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