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BGU Launches Student-Run VC Fund

BGU Launches Student-Run VC Fund

December 26, 2018

Negev Development & Community Programs, Press Releases

The Center for Entrepreneurship at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is launching Cactus Capital, a $1 million student-run venture capital fund to invest in student, recent graduate and academic entrepreneurial initiatives.

Cactus Capital will be led by BGU students who have completed a hands-on training course in VC investing run by fresh.fund, Israel’s first university-focused venture capital fund. Students who graduate the course with excellence will have the opportunity to join the investment committee of the first of its kind university-backed VC fund dedicated to advancing student innovation on campus.

“Some of today’s best known companies like Dell and Facebook were started by college students,” says Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU). “This will help continue the expansion of the Startup Nation through the Negev innovation ecosystem that is unique to Beer-Sheva, with BGU as its bedrock.”

The idea to launch the $1 million fund was developed by BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi and BGN Technologies Director General Netta Cohen. BGN is the technology transfer company at BGU. The University will provide the funds.

The fund will offer three tracks:

Ignite: Up to $5,000 for technological startups in the ideation stage

Validate: Up to $20,000 for technology startups seeking to validate a key assumption about their market or product

Social Impact: Up to $5,000 for social entrepreneurship across different vertical markets

Dana Gavish-Fridman, vice president of entrepreneurship at BGN Technologies, says, “Launching Cactus Capital, together with an investment course specifically designed for students and the partnership with fresh.fund will enable the University to offer students a groundbreaking way to learn about entrepreneurship through hands-on experience. I am proud of the fact that BGU, which places such a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship, is leading this unique endeavor, which will give our students a noticeable advantage.”

Zaki Djemal, managing partner of fresh.fund, says, “We are excited to join forces with BGU in offering our unique investment course for the first time within a University framework in Israel. BGU’s Center for Entrepreneurship offers graduates an immediate opportunity to use their training through actively taking part in the entrepreneurship fund investment committee and deciding on the best investment opportunities.”

He adds, “BGU stands out within Israel’s academic landscape due to its vibrant and self-contained student community, which nourishes teamwork and entrepreneurial spirit. Additionally, the University enjoys world-class technology and outstanding human capital and is taking real action to prioritize student innovation on campus.”

Visit the Cactus Capital Facebook page for videos and more: www.facebook.com/Cactus.Capital

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications
516-944-4486
alc@alavin.com