Tel Aviv is bursting with entrepreneurs and it was great to hear some of their best new ideas in Virgin Atlantic’s Pitch to Rich competition. Five start-ups got the chance to pitch their idea to me for the chance to win a place on a Virgin StartUp course, flights to London and mentoring time.
First up was Dror Tamir, CEO of Hargol Foodtech, a grasshopper protein business. He told us all about how 2.5 billion people already have insects in their diet and the benefits for the environment that brings – and then challenged me to eat one. I’m never one to back down from a challenge and popped it in my mouth. It was rather crunchy. Almost like a prawn eaten in its shell. I’m sitting by the phone now waiting for I’m A Celebrity to call…
We then heard from Mishael Miller, who started EZsave, which helps people get a better understanding of their finances and supports them to reach their goals. He told us how they help customers get in control of their money – and they must be doing something right as they’ve had 350,000 downloads already!
Next up was Steve Grun, CEO of Yofix Probiotics, a company that develops vegan and soy-free prebiotics and probiotics. They are already sold nationwide in Israel and he gave us some samples to have a taste. It’s wonderful how so many new businesses are starting that focus on health and wellbeing; we only have one body and we really should look after it.
We then heard from Dr. Shimrit Perkol, CEO of ECOncrete. It was fascinating to learn about how she started her company to protect coastlines and marine life with low-carbon, bio-enhanced concrete that is custom-made for the project. It was lovely to hear that the chemical make-up of ECOncrete provides a better environment for marine life to flourish.
Last, but definitely not least, we heard from David Sherez, CRO of Venn, a start-up that transforms the way people live in cities by creating vibrant communities, offering a network of homes, shared spaces, local business initiatives and community engagement. They have rolled out to three cities: Brooklyn, Berlin and Tel Aviv.
It was incredibly hard picking between the ideas – but the one that really caught my eye has to be ECOncrete - I love the ocean and, living on an island that has been battered by hurricanes, I know how important it is to protect our shores. Well done Dr Shimrit!
We finished our trip with a big party, celebrating the new route and all the wonderful things Tel Aviv has to offer. Whether it’s for the food, the beaches, the nightlife, the lovely people, or for business – it’s a city that has something for everyone. Explore it for yourself – head to Virgin Atlantic to get your seat on the next plane!