SNC, Genesis Prize Foundation announce winners of startup competition, held in honor of Natan Sharansky

Names of Israeli companies developing the most promising technologies to fight COVID-19 revealed at a special event honoring Sharansky at President Rivlin’s residence

The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF) and Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) have announced the winners of the competition among Israeli high-tech and biotechnology companies in honor of Natan Sharansky. The competition aimed to identify the most promising innovations developed by Israeli companies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement took place on Dec. 24, 2020, at the residence of President Reuven Rivlin during a small, socially distanced ceremony celebrating the legendary Jewish leader. Several guests attended in person, with hundreds of invitees from different parts of the world joining by video.

Sharansky was announced as the seventh Genesis Prize Laureate in December 2019, and directed his $1 million award to organizations fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Part of Sharansky’s award was used to fund a competition for Israeli biotech and high-tech companies developing innovative solutions to the pandemic. The contest, launched in partnership with Start-Up Nation Central, recognizes Israeli companies that achieved technological advances aimed at preventing, diagnosing, and treating the effects of COVID-19.

Prof. Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), and one of the few guests who attended the ceremony in person, commented: “Israel has ample experience in responding to existential challenges with creative and trailblazing solutions. This experience is proving handy in helping the world fight the spread and implications of COVID-19. Today’s winners should be extremely proud, not just for the honor they received, but for their real and tangible contribution to the global battle against COVID-19″.

President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin congratulated Sharansky: “Natan, you never rest. You took on new roles to promote Jewish unity, strengthen Israeli society, and fight anti-Semitism. It is, therefore, no surprise that you have chosen to use the $1 million Genesis Prize money and to give that money to philanthropic and high-tech initiatives that are trying to address the greatest challenge facing the world today, the coronavirus. The grants were made with a particular focus on the most vulnerable populations in Israel. Natan, as a Prisoner of Zion who turned into a Proud Defender of Zion, there is no one more deserving of this prize. You are a source of inspiration for us all. Mazal tov.”

Natan Sharansky said: “I was selected as the Genesis Prize Laureate a year ago, and so much has changed in these 12 months. I am grateful to the Genesis Prize for the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to fighting the pandemic and am heartened by the spirit of humanity and innovation displayed by our high-tech industry. It is the most fundamental Jewish value to help the other and I hope other Israeli companies join this effort.”

Stan Polovets, Co-Founder and Chairman of GPF, said: “The competition in honor of Natan Sharansky showcased the impressive innovative potential of Israel’s biotechnology and high-tech sectors. Israeli companies and entrepreneurs are cementing their place in the world as leaders in the biotech sector and we are honored to recognize the best of the best in this field. Their contribution to global health is immense.”

Genesis Prize
Mr. Sharansky and Prof. Kandel (left) give one of 10 awards to Zohar Karni, cofounder of Zeppi


Hundreds of Israeli startups and established organizations, such as Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), took part in the contest. Twenty-one shortlisted companies made it into the second round of the competition, with 10 winners announced on Dec. 24, 2020. The authoritative judging panel included prominent scientists, medical doctors and philanthropists. Among the judges were the leading Israeli philanthropist and founder of SpaceIL Morris Kahn, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central, Eugene Kandel, and one of the world’s most respected physicians and the author of the bestseller The End of Illness Dr. David Agus.

Winning companies will donate funds to Israeli nonprofits of their choice, working to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

To find out which companies won the competition, click here.