Like many high school students, 16-year-old Eli Ohayon works evenings and weekends to make pocket money. Unlike others, however, his earnings from selling eggplant-and-egg sabich sandwiches in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market took him unusually far: to the 2017 Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona last November.
Eli flew there to demonstrate to participants, including the mayor of Barcelona, his Fitog (Fitness Together) app for finding and reserving public sports venues such as tennis and basketball courts or soccer fields.
“My vision is to make the world of street sports better, easier and more accessible, and to bring together people who do sports,” says Eli, an 11th -grader in the Air Force prep program at ORT High School for Aviation Technology and Space in his hometown of Ma’aleh Adumim near Jerusalem.
Fitog users can check via GPS for nearby sports facilities and then reserve them for a two-hour window. Users can verify a venue’s availability for other users, and can also locate and join up with other users looking for a pick-up game at the same time.
Eli and his friends Ido Nuv and Nadav Kedar worked on the app for a year in the GatIT startup accelerator in Kiryat Gat, about a 90-minute drive southwest of Ma’aleh Adumim.
This is why, incredibly enough, Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel met Eli, Ido and Nadav for the first time only in Barcelona.
“He told us about the application he developed and left us all excited, openmouthed and full of pride. Eli is proof that our investment in math, cyber and science pays off,” Kashriel told The Jerusalem Post.
Though Fitog is still under development, it’s being used on a beta basis now in Ma’aleh Adumim, Barcelona, Kiryat Gat and perhaps next in New York, thanks to connections Eli made at the expo.
The ambitious teen is seeking an investor to help him develop the app and market it to cities across the world. His business model foresees making a profit from selling user data to mobile advertisers.