Avertto, a startup in the health field, emerged victorious in this year’s highly competitive Asper Prize startup competition, which was held this week. The award, presented by ASPER-HUJI Innovate, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, and the Asper Foundation, recognized Avertto’s achievement in using innovative technologies to make a positive global impact.
With 45 startups vying for the prestigious prize, the competition was substantial, showcasing groundbreaking solutions to significant challenges in various sectors such as healthcare, food security, global warming, education, and industrial manufacturing. These startups were founded by Hebrew University researchers, alumni or relied on the university’s intellectual property while also meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Avertto has developed a system that monitors blood flow to the brain, detects any changes and provides real-time alerts to enable timely treatment, thereby preventing strokes. Strokes are a key cause of disabilities and endanger the lives of millions. Most individuals having a stroke do not reach the emergency room on time, resulting in devastating outcomes. Avertto aims for early intervention instead of treatment.
Throughout the competition, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch their startups to industry experts and high-ranking venture capitalists, opening doors to potential funding and partnerships. The five startups that reached the final round presented their ventures to the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University, whose members are senior leaders from all over the world and who, along with a distinguished panel of judges, chose the winning startup.
Who were the other finalists?
Among the five finalists were a diverse range of innovative startups. ANINA Culinary Art caught the judges’ attention with their mission to transform “ugly vegetables” that are typically discarded, into tasty and nutritious meals. Avertto was impressed with their development of a medical device capable of real-time stroke detection, facilitating timely treatment.
Daika Wood showcased some groundbreaking wood material created through the recycling of wood waste while maintaining its original properties. Quai.MD demonstrated their AI-powered solution that economically assists healthcare providers in complex medical diagnoses. Lastly, RumaFeed utilized innovative molecular technologies to eliminate toxic chemicals in potato greenery, thereby preventing the wastage of millions of tons of potato leaves each year.
Prof. Asher Cohen, President of the university: “I am proud of the Hebrew University and its ability to harness scientific knowledge to create technology to make the world a better place. I have no doubt that the knowledge and tools our students acquire here at the university and the interdisciplinary ecosystem gives them the means for becoming the next generation’s technology entrepreneurs who will be at the forefront of human development, especially in the field of sustainability and combating the climate crisis.”
Gail Asper, chair of the Asper Foundation, added, “Thank you to the startup companies that competed for the 2023 Asper Prize. We believe that the future of creating a positive impact on society and the environment and for improving humanity lies in innovative technologies created by innovative entrepreneurs. We are pleased to continue supporting startups, demonstrating our appreciation of novel technologies that benefit the public good.”
Dr. Amnon Dekel, Executive Director of the Center for Innovation at the university, congratulated the finalists and gave details of the criteria for choosing the winning startup. “Thank you to all the startups that entered the competition and for their efforts to make the world a better place. You, the brains behind the startups, are at the forefront of tomorrow’s world in that not only are you holding your own in the commercial world, but you are also serving as an important model for the world of sustainability.”