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Student-Run Capital Fund Makes First Round of Investments

Student-Run Capital Fund Makes First Round of Investments

November 7, 2019

Negev Development & Community Programs

Ynet News — Technology to prevent drowning, a project to quickly find defibrillators to save lives, and a system that helps lecturers check exams: these are just three of the nine startups that will receive $20,000, as well as business and marketing mentoring.

Roy Kimchi and Danielle Hardonag

Danielle Hardonag and Roy Kimchi, Cactus Capital student managers

Established last year by BGU’s new Entrepreneurship Center’s Yazamut 360 in collaboration with BGN Technologies and Fresh Fund, the Cactus Capital Fund will invest $1 million each year in student startups. Sixty proposals were submitted and nine were chosen for the first round of investment funding.

Roy Kimchi (29) and Danielle Hardonag (25), undergraduate students at BGU, were selected to manage the Cactus Capital Fund, which will finance students or recent graduate startups and help them to realize their ideas. Alongside them, are another 25 students who took part in a course to train analysts, and are trained to act as scouts – always on the lookout for ideas. They find potential startups and ideas for investment and decide together in which to invest.

Ariel Hasidim who developed an app to locate the nearest defibrillator in an emergency (Photo: Chaim Horenstein)

Danielle Hardonag is currently in her third year of an undergraduate degree in economics and business management. “People were surprised at the University’s decision to give $1 million to students so that they can invest in other students,” she says, “but when you think about the big ‘unicorns,’ students are at the perfect stage in their lives to develop a startup – we are young, usually without a lot of commitments, and we are not afraid to dream big.”

Adam Bismut and Jenia Golbstein

Adam Bismut and Jenia Golbstein who developed a warning system for lifeguards (Photo: Chaim Horenstein)

“As a student entrepreneur at the University, you have an advantage,” says Roy Kimchi, “because not only do you have contact with the best researchers in Israel, but the most important thing for an entrepreneur: talented partners in the building next door. And we are just starting out.” Kimchi finished his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and management and is now starting a master’s degree in data science.

Cactus Capital creates a new atmosphere on campus that lets students know that their ideas are welcome and can be realized during their studies. It is part of a whole web of new activities led by Dana Gavish, manager of Yazamut 360, and its chair, Prof. Carmel Sofer, to support and encourage technological, social and electronic trading initiatives.

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