Since joining 412×972 Pittsburgh Israel Innovation months before the pandemic, its executive director, Gal Inbar, has helped dozens of Israeli and Pittsburgh companies partner on innovative projects.
A Nov. 16 event was an opportunity to expand on that work.
Thanks to Discovery Day 2022, a program of the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, and the efforts of 412×972, eight Israeli companies traveled to western Pennsylvania and participated in the daylong gathering.
"This is the first time ever that so many Israeli companies are coming into town for such a great show," Inbar said.
Held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Discovery Day welcomed students, CEOs and robots. As the latter entertained attendees, engineers and executives conversed and strategized potential partnerships.
Creating those connections is part of Discovery Day’s goal, explained Jennifer M. Apicella, PRN's program director.
“We wanted to make this very high-tech forward-thinking industry community available to all,” she said. “There are opportunities available at these companies for jobs. There are opportunities for businesses to come and learn how to adopt this kind of technology. But none of that can happen unless the public understands truly what that opportunity is.”
Throughout the day, busloads of young people, educators and community members arrived at the convention center, ascended the stairs and made their way between booths.
Amir Molad, founder and CEO of AmarelUS, a company that provides professional services for manufacturing and technology industries, relocated with his family from Israel to New Jersey months ago. Discovery Day was his first time in Pittsburgh.
“The people that you meet here are wonderful,” Molad said. “They are extremely friendly and all of them are trying to assist and help in any way. It's amazing.”
Sarah Wish, the program coordinator of Tikkun Olam Makers, said Discovery Day was a chance to inform the public about the Israeli-based company’s efforts to create and disseminate “affordable solutions to neglected challenges of people living with disabilities, the elderly and the poor.”
As visitors passed her stand, Wish related information about an upcoming global innovation challenge offered by the company.
“People can support someone with a disability in their community who experiences a neglected challenge and create a solution for them, then document it, [and] upload it to our platform,” Wish said. “And then anyone anywhere will be able to access their solution and use it.”
Alex Geht, the founder and CEO of Testa Seat, showed passersby the innovative adaptive seats his Israeli-based company makes for children and adults with special needs.
Geht said his process involves working with clinicians, measuring clients and then 3-D printing the seats based on the clients’ abilities.
“In this way, we are providing very customized, unique, safe and very affordable [seats] in a very short time,” he said.
Almog Zeron, co-founder and CEO of XYZeron, told the Chronicle that though this wasn’t his first time in Pittsburgh, he was excited to learn and spark new partnerships.
“We have a group of talents in Israel, and what's nice is we're always looking for a nice project with good partners,” Zeron said.
XYZeron is an Israeli-based company that develops smart products and provides solutions and consulting to the Israeli and global market. Helping companies, like XYZeron, is part of 412×972's mission, Inbar explained.
“We build business bridges between the communities and strengthen the bonds between Pittsburgh and Israel,” he said. And though 412×972 is committed to ensuring beneficial economic outcomes for its partners, the initiative is also concerned with “building relations and connecting people."
“We're here as a resource,” Andrew Rabin, 412×972’s co-founder and board chair, said.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh helped establish 412×972 about three years ago. Since then, the initiative has brought together 80 Israeli and Pittsburgh companies by focusing on the latter region's strengths, including robotics, autonomous navigation, machine learning, AI and life sciences, Rabin said.
Even so, Inbar said, there’s “so much more work to be done." "We'd like to serve more companies, more manufacturing, supply chain, more tech, mid-market, and just get the word out that we're here as a resource,” Rabin said. “We'd love to have conversations." PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at email@example.com.