Israel Brain Technologies is launching Brainnovations, one of the world’s first exclusively braintech accelerators. We interviewed two of the key people behind Brainnovations – Ohad Shaked, who is financing the initiative, and adv. Einat Katzenell of Katzenell Dimant Frank, who is a strategic partner.
“I believe that braintech is the most important research arena there is, and it’s on the cusp of creating a revolution of sorts in our world.” This is the motivation driving entrepreneur Ohad Shaked, who is providing the preliminary financial backing to launch – Brainnovations.
The Brainnovations Startup Launchpad offers Israeli entrepreneurs with promising ideas and early stage startups in the braintech space a four-month focused educational and mentoring program including shared working space, access to IBT’s extensive expert network, and a demo day with investors. A key differentiator and benefit of the program is the braintech focus, in the educational program, the mentoring by industry veterans, and the investors and partners who are involved, such as Efi Cohen Arazi of Rainbow Medical, Nissim Darvish of Orbimed, as well as senior execs of pharma, medical device and technology multinationals.
There are altruistic reasons for Shaked’s choosing to support braintech, as neuroscience innovation holds the key to helping sufferers of some of humanity’s cruelest diseases: depression, Alzheimer’s, ALS, schizophrenia, just to name a few. “But there is also a strong business component,” explains Shaked. “There is a huge market and unmet need. Those companies who will be at the forefront of this movement will reap financial rewards. Beyond this, establishing what I believe is the world’s first braintech launchpad, in Israel, is of strategic importance for Israel at the national level.”
Why is the Launchpad so critical for Israel’s braintech industry? “The braintech arena is fundamentally different from the internet or apps arena, the fields I come from,” explains Shaked. “It’s much less intuitive. Brainnovations will bring together early stage entrepreneurs and neuro-innovators with some of the industry’s most experienced leaders. This will help them navigate the potential minefields of regulation, financial models, the medical industry’s requirements and more.”
While there are already successful technologies being developed in fields such as brain stimulation and digital brain health, there are also longer-term subcategories that will emerge, according to Shaked, such as Cognitive Enhancement and something he calls “Emotion Management.” Today there are companies like Brainsway, who are on the cutting edge, creating medical device solutions for illnesses like depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s. But Shaked believes that in the future people without disorders will also turn to medical devices, to enhance their emotional regulation. “Braintech will lead us into the future,” he concludes. “With the foundation of the Brainnovations Launchpad, we’re doing our part to make sure Israel will be at the forefront.”
Einat Katzenell, Partner at the law firm Katzenell Dimant Frank, has been with IBT since its first days, and serves on the Brainnovations steering committee. Her involvement, like Shaked’s, is driven by both altruistic reasons and makes sound business sense. “Our firm specializes in hi-tech, life science and pharma companies, from start-ups to mature companies,” explains Katzenell. “Supporting the braintech ecosystem in Israel means nurturing entrepreneurs and early-stage companies who may one day be big companies.”
Katzenell believes that IBT’s role in Israel’s braintech ecosystem is central, and invaluable. “At the first IBT event – I saw the significance of IBT’s activities. A number of veteran Israeli entrepreneurs in the braintech industry came up to me and said that they had been trying to ‘chase down’ prominent international figures in the braintech arena for literally years, and finally found them and were able to speak with them in a significant way at the IBT event. IBT’s network is truly unique, in Israel and the world.”
Katzenell believes the community that IBT has been able to bring together is active, driven and can make an actual difference by pushing this industry further. “And this is what entrepreneurs need to understand,” she concludes. “For entrepreneurs hoping to succeed in the braintech arena, Brainnovations offers a golden opportunity to make invaluable connections that can really take a company forward, and to engage with partners and mentors that the program offers, that bring substantial experience and value.”
For more information on Brainnovations and how to apply click here. The deadline for applications is June 15th.