It wasn’t business as usual at Malion Holding on Sunday morning, January 13th, it was jammed packed with people vying to see what young engineers had concocted . Feeling more like a movie set then a typical business office, students showed off their Arduino-microprocessor based innovation in front of a team of “Sharks.” CIJE Tank brought six high school semi-finalist capstone project teams to the stage to make business presentations to a panel of four investors (“sharks”), who then chose one group of budding entrepreneurs to receive a preliminary patent for their innovation, which was generously sponsored by Nathan Renov at Pearl Cohen.
The crowd was abuzz from the CIJE students’ ingenuity. One team presented a teddy bear designed for the anxious child. Happy Hugs, the bear, is a fuzzy creature equipped with a heating element, a heartbeat component and a sound recording mechanism designed by an all-girls team from Schechter Westchester. Schechter Westchester students also created Keywi, a low-cost attendance tracking system for schools which utilizes RFID technology and a pet-centric social media platform Wagz. The system allows dog owners to connect by scanning dog collars. Cranium Cradle, a helmet with GPS capabilities that alarms authorities when the cyclist is in danger was crafted by students from Bais Yaakov of Baltimore. Bruriah High School students targeted an ailment that is prevalent among bedridden patients. It uses pressure sensors to alert nurses of an impending bedsore. Yeshiva Derech Eres developed a SMART mask that opens and closes air filtration based on pathogens in the air.
Working in collaborative teams with an eye to shaping the future, student entrepreneurs presented their product pitches to the CIJE Tank which featured the following array of high profile “sharks”:
Ezriel Rapaport, the CEO of Malion Holding, hosted the event. Ezriel is an experienced investor with over 15 years in the business world. He and his partners opened their innovation center to us for CIJE Tank, and they shared their origin story. Drawing on years of experience, Mr. Rapapport helped the students refine capstone projects. Ezriel is a hands-on investor helping over a dozen start-ups with both seed money, and the support and tools needed for their success. He is especially interested in ventures focusing on product design or ecommerce.
Eli Finkelman, Co-Founder and CTO of Teltech, leads the Teltech team in its efforts to find new and innovative ways for people to maintain their mobile privacy, leverage the power of telecom, and use cloud-based services in their daily communications.
Allison Josephs, Founder and Director of Jew in the City, An organization that is dedicated to recasting the Jewish image in the media by reversing negative associations about religious Jews by highlighting an approach based on kindness, tolerance, sincerity, and critical thinking. Allison has appeared on numerous television and radio networks including CBS, TLC, The Hallmark Channel, HuffPost Live, Associate Press TV, and NPR.
Dov Friedman, Managing Partner at Imminent Capital, is the Managing Partner at Imminent Capital, a VC fund whose mission is to fund the world’s most innovative products. Over the last decade, Dov has taken dozens of startups from ideation to the shelves of the biggest retailers in the world. His ability to spot the next big product and recognize the public’s shifting tastes has given him a unique and bankable edge in the world of venture capital.
With excellent professionalism, clarity, and much passion, students presented great backstories and included setbacks and failures in their original product design process pitches. Our “sharks” asked the student entrepreneurs challenging questions about market sales, competitor companies, feasibility of production, and much more. Students discussed the most specific details of their projects and received suggestions from our panel as if they were already peers. The student entrepreneurs rose to the challenge of the moment and left the panel of “sharks” with a difficult decision of who should win the patent on their product. Yeshiva Derech Eres product made the biggest impact on the judges with their Smart Mask and received the patent. Student team project videos can be viewed at: www.thecije.org
While the sharks were deliberating, Mitch Berkowitz, the owner of Malion Holdings, walked the audience through this industrial park and shared his inspirational story which started in his humble garage. The tour took participants through the warehouse and focused in the makerspace where product designers detailed the design process and showcased the iterative stages of various products they took to market. Participants walked through the docking area, returns, repair shop and heard about some of the challenges Malion Holding faces on a daily basis and the solutions they employ.
To see more picture of the CIJE Tank go to this link.