Each year the grad students of the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at the IDC Herzliya come to NYC to compete live in front of the TechAviv Founders Club New York to crown the year’s most promising Zell startup. Each year the crop of startups gets more and more impressive. This year was no exception. The four startups selected to compete on June 8th were:
- Hobnob – accelerates realtime networking in business events. The mobile app makes it easy for people to seize business opportunities around them during conferences. (Runner Up)
- The Gifts Project – social commerce platform that enables users to give and receive group gifts. *Winner*
- Wibbitz – converts static website content (images, headlines and video clips) into interactive videos in realtime, giving users an engaging overview of the website.
- Trip Angels – enables travelers to experience destinations like locals rather than tourists by connecting them with like-minded people (Angels) living in their desired destination that help customize their trip.
A panel judges from the TechAviv Founders Club NY commented on each of the 4 demos before the audience voted for the top startup via live SMS vote. The panelists were Avner Ronen (Founder, Boxee), Tal Chalozin (Founder, Innovid) and Charlie Federman (Founding Partner, Crossbar Capital). Here’s Charlie’s post on the event.
The much deserving winner of this year’s TechAviv NY Zell Startup Compeition was The Gifts Project with 62% of the audience vote.
Here’s a rough clip (sorry, still waiting on my iPhone 4) of co-founder Ron Gura’s winning demo:
Tel Aviv based The Gift’s Project was founded in November 2009 by Erez Dickman, Matan Bar, Ron Gura and Maya Gura with a little family money and a simple vision; to help people share special occasions with family and friends by actively participating in a group gift without stretching their budget. Yosi Vardi chipped in in Dec 2009 and the company was off to the races. While still in early beta, the current Facebook App boasts over 10,000 active users who’ve given nearly 300 gifts averaging $54 per gift. If that’s telling of things to come, these guys are sitting on something special.
The process of group gifting is done in 3 simple steps; 1) First you pick the gift you want for your friend (there’s a broad selection of real gifts to choose from) 2) The FB friends you invite to participate in the gift get an email invite 3) Once the price of the gift has been collected, the gift is delivered to the recipient’s house. The Gifts Project app wisely uses a credit system as currency to streamline the process of donating to a group gift and enables the company to take a small commission per gift. If the total price of the gift is not reached, the recipient receives an Amazon gift card for the amount raised.
As you can imagine the company, now 6 bodies strong, is being courted by tier-1 VCs and may raise a Series A this year. Investors take note, this is a hot one. Stay tuned for some big news.
Congrats guys on the win and impressive early growth. We’ll be rooting for you.