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A New Venture at Tel Aviv University, Part #1

Coller Ignite: A community for entrepreneurs by the Coller School of Management

There are many ways to define entrepreneurship. Yet today, an entrepreneurial mindset is essential for success no matter what you choose to do. This is why enterprise companies are establishing Innovation departments. Those that don’t fade into the background.

Today’s startups truly define how we use innovation to build a business from the ground up. Companies that fail to follow this lead have a ticking time bomb above their heads.

Consider Toys “R” Us for example, which will soon be vacating 800 megastores and putting roughly 33,000 people out of work. When they say the final goodbye, the 70-year-old brand will also leave a void in many people’s hearts. Many claim Amazon is the big bad wolf, but there are a number of elements at play here. Failing to adapt to the market is a main one. That's what startups do; they adapt. And those that adapt well are the ones that shine.

An early-stage club for young entrepreneurs

In no specific order, there are three things that guide me in my work with Coller Ignite.

  1. Fall in love with the problem.

  2. Find your most eager consumer.

  3. Fail fast.

When we decided to establish the club, the first thing on my list was: build a great team. I knew it would not be a problem because the Coller School of Management is where leaders originate. Back in 2009 when I got my BA in Management & Social Sciences, this is what each of my friends was - a leader.

Our team is the reason for our success.

  • Morag Edri, Vice President, joined us when she was still busy finishing her MBA at the Coller School of Management. She holds a C-level position at a FinTech startup.

  • Tali Ellenbogen, Content Manager, is currently an MBA student at the Coller School of Management, focusing on big data and business analytics. She is a business development manager with Luminati, the world’s largest proxy network.

  • Mark Kolodkin, Project Manager, and a gifted marketer. He is an electrical engineer with an MBA from the Coller School of Management and an active entrepreneur.

  • Maor Friedman, Project Manager, is currently working in AWS as a hardware engineer while completing his MBA at the Coller School of Management.

  • Mor Lubranski, Community Manager, is a product director with quilliup, an MBA student at the Coller School of Management as well as a new dad.

We became the kind of team that is larger than the sum of its parts, and we often step in to help each other when one of us is busy elsewhere.

Why an entrepreneur’s club?

I left Israel in 2009 and returned in 2017 with my startup, which I co-founded with two partners.

Our company SandCage provides image performance optimization for enterprise companies. Beyond compressing images, our tech is unique because it knows the threshold of human visual perception, and it will not reduce the file size smaller than the point of detection by the human eye. The result is precise, clean compression that is also 800% more efficient on resource consumption, allowing companies to re-allocate hardware resources to other tasks.

When I came back to Israel after eight years, I reconnected with Tel Aviv University and found it had expanded its offerings to young entrepreneurs.

This is how I met Iris Ginzburg. Iris granted me the responsibility to launch the entrepreneur’s club within the Coller School of Management. Although I realized it meant a lot less sleep, I found many reasons to found a club that is lead by students and alumni:

  1. When I was a student, there were no accessible resources or knowledge regarding entrepreneurship. Today, Tel Aviv University is a leader in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. In many cases, however, true entrepreneurial knowledge comes from entrepreneurs themselves. Coller Ignite is the missing piece of the puzzle.

  2. It is a real opportunity to give back to the community. Experienced entrepreneurs know that, in this world, the people who help you are not necessarily the people who you end up helping. True reciprocation lies in being an active member of the community and passing along the knowledge and insights you have gained along the way.

  3. For me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work alongside Iris, an inspiring thought leader in Israel’s high tech community.

  4. As soon as I decided to establish the club, it became a personal goal to uplift other women entrepreneurs by serving as a strong female leader and championing their entrepreneurial efforts from within Coller Ignite. I have found this diversified support benefits the overall TAU entrepreneurial community.

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