Finally, the time came for the founders to pitch their startups in 90 second intervals, after which they were asked specific questions by a panel of respected judges, including, Dan Ciporin, general partner, Canaan Ventures; Danny Schultz, managing partner, Gotham Ventures; and Jing Wang Herman, CEO, GetTaxi USA.
However, as Jonathan Stefansky, a co-founder of Viewbix and Beit Shemesh resident, got up to make his pitch, he looked out the window at the World Trade Center site and decided the pitch wasn’t as important as remembering his friend and former boss, Danny Lewin.
Lewin was an American Israeli who was killed as he defended an airline stewardess on the first plane that crashed into the WTC towers. Stefansky began his pitch by saying, “Danny Lewin was one of the first people killed on Sept. 11, he started Akamai Technologies which affects every single Internet user today, and he brought thousands of jobs to Massachusetts. He’s an American Israeli, and really, it’s incumbent on all of us to fulfill his dreams by creating start-ups in Israel and bringing them to the U.S. as well.”
The evening culminated with the People’s Choice Award going to Augury Systems, dubbed the “Shazam for engines,” as it automatically diagnoses machines, gives treatment recommendations, and even predicts future failures, based on the sounds emitted. Other contenders included AdCore, Brayola, Cellepathy, Choozer, Connesta, Curiyo, Fashioholic, Roomixer, Seebo, Senexx, TotalBoox, Viewbix, and Zazma who presented innovative tech solutions in fashion, hospitality, book publishing, hiring employees, safe driving with cell phones, SEM campaign automation, online video with interactive apps, short-term financing for small businesses, toy development and gaming.
David Bratslavsky, executive director of USI said, “I’m very satisfied with the accomplishments of the ‘Israel to NYC’ program. We introduced Israel’s top tech start-ups to investors, potential business partners and government resources, everything Israeli entrepreneurs need to enable global expansion through New York City.”