A new venture builder program is afoot to focus on creating affordable healthcare solutions for low and lower-middle income Indians.
The Pears Challenge, run by the Pears Program for Global Innovation at Tel Aviv University, aims to identify experienced Israeli innovators and entrepreneurs and give them the knowledge, networks and skills to create technologies that can transform the lives of poor people worldwide and succeed in developing country markets.
Ventures from the first two challenges have already raised over a million dollars in seed financing and are deploying their solutions across Africa and Central America, Pears said. This follows the Pears Challenge in India that was held in July. Before that, the organization held a challenge on Kenya last year, dealing with improving food security in Africa.
The 2017 challenge will start with a 5-month ideation lab where fellows will work with experts in India and Israel to develop their venture ideas. The most promising ventures will be flown for two weeks to India to validate their ideas and meet with potential Indian investors and clients. At the end of this process, they will be supported in the process of finding seed capital.
“The Indian market represents a tremendous opportunity for Israeli startups. The healthcare market is projected to grow to $280 billion by 2020,” said Aliza Inbal, director of the Pears Program for Global Innovation. “Indian healthcare providers are hungry for low-cost solutions that will enable them to extend healthcare to the Indian masses. They are in deep need of point of care diagnostics, remote patient monitoring and patient record management solutions.”
Israel and India are seeking to deepen their economic and security ties as Israel turns its attention from its traditional Western export markets to Asia. President Reuven Rivlin and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week hailed their countries’ increasing security cooperation and called fro strengthening their economic relationship, as Rivlin made a historic visit to the world’s second-most populous country.
“Israeli innovators are still mostly looking West and high-end when the fastest growing markets are actually East and low-to-mid range,” Inbal said. “The Pears Challenge aims to change this situation by helping outstanding Israeli entrepreneurs learn about needs, develop business models specific to the way India operates and connect with Indian tech hubs, investors, multinationals and healthcare providers. We believe that by building bridges between the Startup Nation and the massive Indian market, we can help Israeli companies succeed with breakthrough solutions that bring healthcare to the world’s poor.”
Applications to take part in the program will close on November 29. On Sunday, November 20, the Pears 2017 Challenge will hold an event that will host technology-for-good entrepreneurs, including Yofef Abramowitz, CEO of Energiya Global, which built the largest commercial solar field in East Africa; Ariel Beery, CEO of Mobile ODT, developer of an award winning technology to diagnose cancer through smartphones; and Yoel Cheshin, chairman of 2B Angels, Israel’s first Angel Impact Investing Network.