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Out and About in Israel – June 8: Start-up Avenue and the Main Speakers Event: “Investing In Our Future”

Start-ups from Potsdam at the Tel Aviv University (TAU) Innovation Conference

Group photo: Photo: Wulf Bickenbach

“What is the main thing that entrepreneurs do?” This is the question posed by Sonny Vu, President & CTO for Connected Devices at Fossil Group at the Main Speakers Event at the conclusion of the TAU Innovation Conference. The replies from the audience are diverse: from making the world a better place to simply earning money and everything in between. What Sonny actually wants to hear though is “sales.” Founders have to constantly sell themselves, their idea, and their product because their young company doesn’t have a chance to survive otherwise. Sonny hands out one of his beautiful “wearables” as a reward for the right answer. He’s made his career as a serial entrepreneur with their design and sales.

Sales is also a good keyword for the entire day. The founders of Synfioo have pitched their customer solution and business model a grand total of 50 times today. We’re on the campus of Tel Aviv University. Throughout the day, a lot is going on at the booth shared by the three Uni Potsdam start-ups at the trade fair, which is called Start-up Avenue. More than 50 start-ups from a broad array of industries are presenting here. Investors and networking partners are looking for new contacts. Students and even school children find inspiration for their own business ideas. And people can even meet TAU researchers in virtual reality and explain their field of research using animations and 3D models. The Tel Aviv Start-up Challenge is running at the same time. Whenever there are a few spare minutes to grab some food, the teams from adento and diamond inventics listen to the new business ideas dreamed up by Israeli entrepreneurs.

A truly prominent and innovative product is then introduced among the speakers in the auditorium. Moshe Hogeg, one of Israel’s most successful entrepreneurs and a manager of a $150 million venture capital fund for technology-driven start-ups, talks about one of his latest products. He shows us a smartphone that was officially introduced just two days ago in London; it has outstanding hardware features as well as the highest possible security against hackers, data theft, and surveillance. The smartphone costs $15,000, and its target customer base is business leaders in Asia, where industrial cyber-espionage is a major problem. Another target group is prominent people all over the world who have been the victims of data theft again and again in recent years and have had to endure seeing their private photos published on the Internet. Then Moshe makes the connection to Sonny Vu and his question of how you sell an exclusive product. In this case, Leonardo di Caprio is helping out. Moshe knows him and asked him if he would like to have one of these new phones. In return, Leo came to the launch event in London and brought his friends along. Right after the event, there were several hundred orders placed for the new smartphone...

Synfioo, adento and diamond inventics may not have as many customers yet, but altogether they have made more than 100 contacts. Hopefully this will result in new customers in the future. The work then begins immediately in following up on the meetings. Some people in our group lost their voice over the course of the evening and everyone was exhausted from an intense day. Lots of work today, but no play ... only sleep.

Text: Wulf Bickenbach
Published online by: Daniela Großmann
Contact the online editorial office: onlineredaktion@uni-potsdam.nomorespam.de

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