Joint Israel-India, four-city hackathon to tackle health in rural India
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A joint Israeli-Indian hackathon will aim to address rural health issues in the poorest parts of India. Photo credit: Med4Dev

A joint Israeli-Indian hackathon will aim to address rural health issues in the poorest parts of India. Photo credit: Med4Dev

Pears works on a different project every year that matches Israeli hi-tech with a cause in a different developing region

A quadruple municipal event being held in two countries will tackle problems with developing health care solutions for low-income Indians. Med4Dev will take place in Tel Aviv, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad this weekend, July 22-24.

The main organizer is the Pears Program in Global Innovation, which aims to apply Israeli hi-tech to developing economies. The aim of the hackathon is to launch an Israeli pipeline of commercially viable, affordable technologies with the power to address Indian poor and lower-middle class needs,” the program said in a press release.

The event in Tel Aviv is clearly a bridge opportunity for the two countries, one of several that Israelis and Indians have been pushing over the last several years as the two countries have grown strategically and economically close. Friday’s events will open with a talk from Start-Up Nation co-author Saul Singer. That will be mixed in with three hacking sessions, a couple of mentoring powwows and a special Shabbat dinner.

All competing teams will have a shot at winning cash, mentoring packages and placements in a joint Indian-Israeli health care accelerator. Following the hackathon, there will be a 45-day mentoring period when they pair the winners with investors, and then place some of them in acceleration programs that will last between 1-2 years. Indian winners will have a chance to win a trip to Tel Aviv, Israelis a shot at a Pears Challenge fellowship, and everyone a chance to pitch in front of “leading” Indian venture capitalists.

“The rapid growth of the Indian health care market presents enormous opportunity for Israel. However, for Israelis to succeed in that market, they have to learn to innovate affordably to address Indian challenges,” said Dr. Aliza Inbal, who runs the Pears Program. “We are building the bridges to the Indian innovators, health care providers, accelerators and investors to help a new generation of Israeli startups succeed with technologies that give poor and rural Indians access to quality medical care.”

Other hosts include recently opened T-Hub in Hyderabad, the 10,000 Start-Ups Warehouse in Bengaluru and WeSchool in Mumbai.

Indian health in rural areas is the 2016 focus of the organization. Pears last year organized a hackathon for Israelis and Kenyans around agritech as part of their 2015 theme of helping small farmers in the east African country. Community Outreach Manager Andi Gergely of Pears told Geektime that this isn’t the first hackathon her organization has put on, but it is certainly the largest yet and the first to be international. Over 600 competitors are expected with several Indian visitors at the Tel Aviv location at the Google Campus.

The hacking portion takes on challenges sponsored by different companies and foundations. The Naandi Foundation is backing challenges on food monitoring for infants and a diagnostic test for anemia in young women. Medtronic is sponsoring a hearing diagnostic competition and Manipal Hospitals is sponsoring three. All in all there will by nine hacking contests over the course of the weekend. Other co-sponsors include eHealth Ventures, OrbiMed, Deloitte Israel, Startup Nation Central, Creators IDEAtion Lab, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Bewell.il, and recently funded MRI startup Aspect Imaging, not to mention the more than 40 Indian sponsors.

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