BGU launches $1 mln, student-run venture fund

The Center for Entrepreneurship at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is launching a $1 million student-run venture capital fund called Cactus Capital. The fund will invest in student, recent graduate and academic entrepreneurial projects. The fund will be led by BGU students who completed training in venture investing by fresh.fund, Israel’s university-focused venture fund. The fund will target investments of up to $5,000 for tech startups still being developed; up to $20,000 for more developed startups and up to $5,000 for social entrepreneurship across market verticals.

Press Release

The Center for Entrepreneurship at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is launching Cactus Capital, a $1 million student-run venture capital fund to invest in student, recent graduate and academic entrepreneurial initiatives.

Cactus Capital will be led by BGU students who have completed a hands-on training course in VC investing run by fresh.fund, Israel’s first university-focused venture capital fund. Students who graduate the course with excellence will have the opportunity to join the investment committee of the first of its kind university-backed VC fund dedicated to advancing student innovation on campus.

“Some of today’s best-known companies like Dell and Facebook were started by college students,” says Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU). “This will help continue the expansion of the Startup Nation through the Negev innovation ecosystem that is unique to Beer-Sheva, with BGU as its bedrock.”

The idea to launch the $1 million fund was developed by BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi and BGN Technologies Director General Netta Cohen. BGN is the technology transfer company at BGU. The University will provide the funds.

The fund will offer three tracks:

Ignite: Up to $5,000 for technological startups in the ideation stage

Validate: Up to $20,000 for technology startups seeking to validate a key assumption about their market or product

Social Impact: Up to $5,000 for social entrepreneurship across different vertical markets

Dana Gavish-Fridman, vice president of entrepreneurship at BGN Technologies, says, “Launching Cactus Capital, together with an investment course specifically designed for students and the partnership with fresh.fund will enable the University to offer students a groundbreaking way to learn about entrepreneurship through hands-on experience. I am proud of the fact that BGU, which places such a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship, is leading this unique endeavor, which will give our students a noticeable advantage.”

Zaki Djemal, managing partner of fresh.fund, says, “We are excited to join forces with BGU in offering our unique investment course for the first time within a University framework in Israel. BGU’s Center for Entrepreneurship offers graduates an immediate opportunity to use their training through actively taking part in the entrepreneurship fund investment committee and deciding on the best investment opportunities.”

He adds, “BGU stands out within Israel’s academic landscape due to its vibrant and self-contained student community, which nourishes teamwork and entrepreneurial spirit. Additionally, the University enjoys world-class technology and outstanding human capital and is taking real action to prioritize student innovation on campus.”

Visit the Cactus Capital Facebook page for videos and more: https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/BpJYC5yAlgTZKjJluzupkU?domain=facebook.com

About fresh.fund

Proudly backed by Pico Partners, fresh.fund is Israel’s first university-focused venture capital fund. It invests $20,000 to $100,000 in early-stage tech companies (mainly software, across verticals) founded by exceptional students, academics or recent graduates. In some cases, fresh.fund may syndicate larger deals (up to $500,000) together with other investors from its network. The process is fast and founder-friendly: Typically, six weeks from application to money. For more information, visit https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/8Vk7C68Ymjir9ONWc6yxhC?domain=fresh.fund

About BGN Technologies

BGN Technologies is the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The company monetizes discoveries made by BGU researchers and facilitates collaborative efforts and entrepreneurship between researchers and students. BGN Technologies has created more than 100 companies to date in a variety of high-tech disciplines including biopharma, cyber, cleantech, medical devices, optics, and more. In addition, BGN Technologies has built tech incubators in partnership with leading companies in the Israeli market. Over the last decade long-term partnership deals have been signed by leading international giants including Deutsche Telekom, Dell-EMC and Lockheed-Martin, thus adding value to the University. For more information, visit the BGN Technologies website.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more.

AABGU, which is headquartered in Manhattan, has nine regional offices throughout the United States. For more information, visit https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/IpRFC73DnkiA6pgRiB9KAj?domain=aabgu.org.