Inside Upwest Labs, The Startup Accelerator That Brings Israel To Silicon Valley
Original article by TechCrunch
There is certainly no shortage of startup incubators and accelerators these days, but Silicon Valley’s Upwest Labs is doing something especially unique. Upwest, which got off the ground in January, focuses on entrepreneurs with Israeli roots — it brings them to Palo Alto, California for 10 weeks, during which they work around the clock to amp up their existing startups to Silicon Valley speed.
Israel is of course no slouch in the tech department, but Upwest says bringing Israeli founders to Silicon Valley helps them bring their startups “to the next level” in their development. Being here in the hotbed of the modern Internet industry, startups can tap into continuous feedback from users, other entrepreneurs, and of course investors. The intensity of that experience, Upwest says, makes them truly ready for primetime.
Earlier this month Upwest held the demo day for its second-ever batch of companies, so we stopped by its office in the days after to get a firsthand feel for the program and see some of the companies that are now graduating out of the second class.
In the video embedded above, you can watch our interview with Upwest Labs’ co-founder Shuly Galili and hear her talk about what Upwest is, what she and her co-founder Gil Ben-Artzy look for in entrepreneurs, the vibe they’re aiming to create, and more. She also gave us the scoop on what’s up next for Upwest: The program is now accepting applications for its third class of startups, which is slated to start working in Palo Alto in late August. The leaders of Upwest will also be in Tel Aviv next month interviewing prospective founders; you can learn more about that here.
TechCrunch also got a few current Upwest companies (and one alum from the first class) to give them their pitches and have a look at some of their products. From beauty product reviews to video editing automation, Upwest certainly has hosted a diverse set of companies with very promising offerings. One thing is certain: This is definitely not the last we’ll be hearing from many of them.
In the order in which they appear, here are the startups that were interviewed in the above video:
Senexx is a social Q&A platform aimed to be used internally at enterprises. It allows co-workers to quickly ask and answer work-related questions. The site, which graduated out of Upwest’s first class this past spring, just unveiled a big integration with Yammer.
Groovideo is a web and mobile platform for collaborative video creation, letting groups of friends easily and quickly create videos together. Its product is especially handy for creating fun group messages for things like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and the like.
Preen.Me aims to be a one-stop-shop that lets women review, browse, and compare prices on beauty products. It also lets them trade application techniques, and receive customized recommendations based on personalized features such as skin type and tone.
Deja.io is developing technology for online and mobile video, creating Pandora Radio-like channels of videos defined by the emotions they evoke.