The Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life hosted its first Biotech Startup Fair this past weekend in an effort to promote awareness about the startup industry and connect startups with Yale students.
The fair, held at the Slifka Center, represents a collaboration between TAMID, an areligious business-focused student organization, and Start-Up Nation, an independent organization that provides resources for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. According to Robert Proner ’19, the events director for TAMID, 15 Israeli startups attended the fair.
Aaron Greenberg ’18, the president of TAMID at Yale, said the Yale chapter is one of 36 chapters that fall under the national TAMID organization. TAMID also offers fellowships to students traveling to Israel over the summer, with eight students being sent to Israel this coming summer on TAMID fellowships
“We get people who are interested in finance in general, not necessarily with experience, and give them hands-on experiences through consulting projects for firms and through a real investment fund,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg added that Start-Up Nation travels to college campuses annually and runs large tech fairs, bringing in between 15 to 20 Israeli companies. Many of the firms are looking to hire interns for this summer and are visiting Yale as part of a Northeast tour, Greenberg said. Proner added that though many of the startups present at the fair were part of the tour, TAMID invited several others independently.
According to Greenberg, Tel Aviv’s growing startup industry inspired the fair.
“Tech startups [in Tel Aviv] are growing at a faster rate than in Silicon Valley right now,” Greenberg said. “Tel Aviv as a city has the second highest concentration of tech startups [after] Silicon Valley. There’s so much that Israel has to offer in terms of innovation. Right now, that’s what we’re trying to advertise here: what Israel has to offer in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship, things that interest a lot of students on campus.”
Greenberg added that Yale sends roughly 60 students to Israel every summer, with 48 of them funded through Yale, indicating the amount of money Yale has to offer for students studying in Israel.
“We’re basically trying to advertise for people to go to Israel this summer,” Greenberg said.
Erik Uebelein, a territory account manager for Check Point Software Technologies, said the startup fair represents an opportunity for his organization to spread the word about its work. Check Point is an organization that provides solutions to prevent security threats and cyberattacks.
While Uebelein said that Check Point is not seeking interns at the moment, they will track students’ emails and will contact candidates if a position opens.
“I might potentially be in Israel this summer doing research, so I was looking for part-time opportunities,” said Tony Liu ’20, a startup fair attendee and staff reporter for the News. “I think it’s a cool thing that they’re doing. A lot of organizations have opportunities available.”
According to Jacob Bacon, co-founder and CEO of GradTrain, a “curated marketplace” for international students looking to study in the United States, the Northeast tour is an opportunity for his startup to raise awareness, forge relationships with universities and establish relationships with each campus.
Bacon added that his startup is offering internships in marketing, data science and machine learning, and has also traveled to the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and New York University.
“We’re working with the TAMID students, and they’re helping us build the product with them,” said Liri Halperin, co-founder and CEO of Leo. “We are also able to be close to our target market and the feedback has been amazing.”
According to Halperin, Leo is a personal insurance assistant that helps users manage their insurance policies through Facebook Messenger chat. Halperin added that users on Leo take advantage of machine learning engines that analyze consumer data and use that to offer policies and services a user might need.
Halperin said the startup is offering internships in marketing, research and business development, in both Israel and the United States.
Correction, March 1: A previous version of the article incorrectly noted that eight students were sent last year to Israel on TAMID fellowships. In fact, eight students are being sent this year. The article was also not clear as to the roles of Aaron Greenberg ’18 and the Slifka Center. Greenberg serves as the current president of TAMID at Yale, and the Slifka Center was the host location for the event.