Dreamit Startup Voiceitt Receives Prestigious BIRD Grant
The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation approved $7.2 million in funding for eight new projects in the areas of agrotechnology, biotechnology, material sciences, homeland security, and more. In addition to the grants from BIRD, the projects will access private sector funding, boosting the total value of all projects to approximately $17 million.
Voiceitt recently completed the Dreamit Health program, which is now accepting applications for the spring 2017 cohort. The startup, founded by Danny Weissberg and Stas Tiomkin, aims to revolutionize the way people who have speech disabilities due to various motor, speech and language disabilities communicate, enabling them to use the most natural means there is: their own voice. Millions of lives have the potential to be dramatically improved using their product.
This is the second Dreamit company to win the BIRD Grant. Medaware, a startup that uses data to eliminate potentially deadly errors in prescriptions, received a $700k grant in 2015. The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any equity or intellectual property rights in the participating companies or in the projects, themselves.
BIRD funding is repaid as royalties from sales of products that were commercialized as a result of BIRD support. The Foundation provides funding of up to 50% of a project’s budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation shares the risk and does not require repayment if the project fails to reach the sales stage.
In addition to providing conditional grants of up to $1 million for approved projects, the Foundation assists by working with companies to identify potential strategic partners and facilitate introductions.
The eight projects approved by the Board of Governors are in addition to about 940 projects which the BIRD Foundation has approved for funding during its 39 year history. To date, BIRD’s total investment in joint projects has been over $330 million, helping to generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion.
The projects approved include:
- Dotz Nano (Petach Tikva, Israel) and Pflaumer Brothers (Ewing Township, NJ): Development and manufacturing of graphene quantum dots from coal sources.
- Evogene (Rehovot, Israel) and Keygene (Rockville, MD): Development of novel drought tolerant wheat varieties using genome editing technologies.
- Motorola Solutions Israel (Airport City, Israel) and Eclipse Identity Recognition Corporation (Campbell, CA): Development of distributed enhanced video analysis.
- NovellusDX (Jerusalem, Israel) and Christiana Care Health System (Newark, DE): Development of in-vitro mutagenesis for a functional characterization of patient mutations and their response to drugs.
- Pluristem Therapeutics (Haifa, Israel) and The New York Blood Center (New York, NY): Development of placenta derived PLX-R18 cells to improve the efficiency of cord blood for hematopoietic regeneration.
- Voiceitt – Technologies of Voice Interface (Ramat Gan, Israel) and SCJ Associates (Rochester, NY): Development of a wearable device that enables people with speech disabilities to communicate freely and naturally using their own voice.
- Vimmi Communications (Rehovot, Israel) and Tech Mahindra Technologies (Wilmington, DE): Development of a system to significantly reduce resources required for transmitting video on mobile networks.
- Westham (Tel Aviv, Israel) and The Terminix International Company (Memphis, TN): Development of breakthrough technology for vector mosquito control.
Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said: “We recognize in the newly selected projects the potential for business and social impact and wish the companies success in their R&D partnerships and their future commercialization efforts.”
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