Acceptance into one of the top tech accelerators is not an easy task. Entrepreneurs can spend years building their startup’s reputation only to then get shot down. But for Technion graduates, the university offers its own accelerator.
The Technion DRIVE Accelerator helps first-time entrepreneurs conquer the challenges of moving from academia to commercialization in a 9-month funding and acceleration program for pre-seed and seed companies. DRIVE’s vision is to become a leading generator of new deep technology ventures and next-generation tech leaders who will change the world for the better.
DRIVE accepts only companies that are either founded by an alum or based on Technion-developed technology. Once inside, the benefits are tremendous. DRIVE companies receive up to $100,000 in investment in return for an agreement for future equity. And funding is only part of the equation. Entrepreneurs are mentored by successful Israeli business execs, and given access to Technion facilities plus 3,200 square foot of dedicated workspace. The Accelerator Academy provides support for pitching projects, fundraising, branding, licensing, marketing, networking, and IP strategizing.
Our entrepreneurs get 360 degrees of care. They are there to work solely on their venture, making different mistakes than others have made, to move forward faster.” – Dr. Shuli Cohen Shwartz MBA ’99
DRIVE currently has 27 companies in its portfolio, varying from 20-person shops that already have customers to those still working on a proof of concept. Since DRIVE’s inception in 2016, two companies have closed and two were sold, one for more than 15 times its initial investment. Some of its featured companies are:
- LiteBC: a non-invasive, handheld blood count device that does not require needles
- Regulus: cyber security for navigation sensors
- VineSight: AI technology to fight misinformation on social media
DRIVE managing director Dr. Shwartz created a career at the intersection of academia and entrepreneurship. She worked for the medical imaging company Elscint Ltd. in the late 1990s, launched the medical device company UltraSPECT, co-managed Runway, the tech incubator program at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, and served as Technion’s Entrepreneur-In-Residence. Dr. Shwartz is a co-inventor of seven patents and co-author of several peer reviewed papers. She earned a Ph.D. degree in Applied Mathematics from Brown University, MBA from the Technion, and BA in Mathematics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
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