Kamatech Sparks an Israeli-Haredi Start-up Revolution in USA
A neophyte Haredi start-up accelerator in Bnei Brak, Israel, has started to make waves on both sides of the ocean. The Kamatech Accelerator’s CEOs are already attracting interest from Fortune 500 companies. Could the next Mobileye or PayPal actually emerge from the almost-unheard-of Haredi Israeli hi-tech world?
Hundreds of potential investors in New York and San Francisco – as well as some of the biggest names in the hi-tech world and the American Jewish community – flocked to Kamatech’s two Demo Days on the East and West Coasts last week. They received exclusive demonstrations from eight nascent start-ups who are part of the Kamatech Accelerator program in Bnei Brak.
Kamatech – which is spearheaded by Bnei Brak businessman cum start-up entrepreneur, Moshe Friedman – empowers Haredi entrepreneurs to connect to the hi-tech and startup ecosystem. Kamatech offers them apprenticeships in leading start-up companies and provides supervision by senior experts. When Kamatech (www.Kamatech.org.il/English) started in 2013, there were only five Haredi startups. Today, there over 600, employing thousands of Haredi hi-tech specialists in their different fields of expertise.
“We are extremely proud and excited about our start-ups because these talented young people represent the future of the Haredi community and Israel’s renowned start-up nation innovation on a global scale,” boasted Friedman.
Adam Neumann, the Israeli-born CEO of the multi-billion-dollar WeWork shared workspace empire, lionized the Kamatech initiative. “To take the great brains of youngsters learning in yeshiva and teaching them how to convert their passion and energy for the hi-tech world is a great cause that I want to be a part of,” he said.
During the course of the evening, each start-up CEO was given three minutes to showcase his/her start-up concept to investors. The concepts ranged the gamut of technological innovation including: the creation of an AI (Artificial Intelligence) language, Brillianetor, which enables machines to “speak” with each other; a platform for smart urban life management dubbed Doorbill; a ground-breaking musical program called Muzy that allowed the late Shimon Peres to play Beethoven’s 9th symphony within minutes; and a cutting-edge app called Emerj that will entitle corporations to stem the tide of employees from moving to other companies by engaging them in a more personal manner.
According to Friedman, several of the aforementioned start-ups are already attracting considerable attention from Fortune 500 companies who on the verge of signing major contracts with them in the coming weeks.