Ben Gurion University students will invest $1MM on behalf of the university in startups founded by fellow students

Zaki Djemal
Dec 9, 2018 · 3 min read

Ben-Gurion University’s Entrepreneurship Center has partnered with to launch Cactus Capital, a $ 1 million fund, to invest in startups founded by students and fresh grads of the university.

BEER-SHEVA, Israel — October 2018 — Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) announced today that it has partnered with, Israel’s first university-focused venture fund, to offer BGU students a hands-on course on entrepreneurship from the perspective of the investor. The objective of the new course is to offer students the expertise and know-how to evaluate innovative technologies and initiatives with social impact that are ready for investment. Students who graduate the course with excellence will have the opportunity to join the investment committee of a new university-backed $1-million fund dedicated to advancing student innovation on campus, which will invest in the most promising inventors and technologies within the university ecosystem, including students and recent graduates.

The fund offers three funding tracks:

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

Validate: up to $20,000 for technological startups

“The idea behind this first-of-its-kind training course offered by is that students will develop the skills to locate and evaluate disruptive technologies and investment opportunities on campus. After the launch of our $1million student fund, this is the next step in turning BGU to the leading entrepreneurship university in Israel,” stated Dana Gavish-Fridman, Head for Entrepreneurship, Ben-Gurion University. “Leveraging entrepreneurship as an engine for growth at BGU will create, we believe, a ripple effect in regional and national development, as the University educates Israel’s next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders.”

“We are excited to join forces with BGU in offering our unique investment course for the first time within an academic framework. BGU’s Center of Entrepreneurship offers graduates of the course an immediate opportunity to exercise their training through actively taking part in Cactus Capital’s investment committee and deciding on the best investment opportunities,” said Zaki Djemal, Managing Partner of”

“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 is filled with great talent and technology and is taking real action to prioritize student innovation on campus.”


Proudly backed by Pico Partners, is Israel’s first university-focused venture capital fund. It invests $20K -$100K in early-stage tech companies (mainly software, across verticals) founded by exceptional students, academics or recent graduates. In some cases, may syndicate larger deals (up to $500K) together with other investors from its network. The process is fast and founder-friendly: typically, 6 weeks from application to money. has its feet on the ground across Israel’s leading academic institutions, positioning it to identify and invest in the most promising early-stage startups and technologies before anyone else. The deal-flow team is made-up of the brightest students and academics in the country (studying computer science, industrial engineering, business, sciences, design etc.) who are hand-picked from hundreds of qualified applicants. These students take part in the fund’s deal flow process: identifying promising founders, conducting market research, due diligence, and participating as key players in the decision-making process of the investment committee. They work hand-in-hand with the fund’s partners and a team of seasoned advisors (leading investors, angels, VCs, and entrepreneurs) to identify investment opportunities and support portfolio companies.

Thanks to Daniel Keyes

Zaki Djemal

Managing Partner

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