It’s always inspiring when the good guys win. That was certainly the feeling that swept the 5,000-person strong audience at the WeWork Creator Awards last week when Jerusalem-based MonitHer won the $360,000 grand prize.
The company was founded by American immigrant to Israel Yehudit Abrams who honed her ultrasound expertise while doing a post-doc at NASA before moving to Israel.
MonitHer makes a handheld ultrasound system that women can use at home to regularly monitor for abnormalities in breast tissue.
The MonitHer device allows women to scan their breasts once a month in about 10 minutes. Software that combines artificial intelligence with the power of the cloud detects any potential problems. MonitHer increases the chances of early detection compared with monthly self-exams and can be done more frequently than annual mammograms.
Abrams hopes that MonitHer will change the way breast cancer is discovered and treated. “We are empowering women,” Abrams says. “We are empowering the individual.”
MonitHer wasn’t the only winner at the Creator Awards. Second place (and $180,000) in the Business Venture category went to startup SensPD, which is developing a device and method to detect autism based on a physiological marker.
Third place went to TETHYS, which is working on technology to create low cost, modular and scalable water desalination plants powered by solar energy.
A second category for non-profits had its own winners. The Kaima NGO won the $72,000 first place prize for its “Employment as Education” model that pairs high school dropout youth with organic farming, business learning and community engagement.
The “Hand in Hand” Jewish-Arab school network and Yotsrot, an organization which helps women exit the cycle of prostitution through vocational training, emotional support and financial guidance, both won $18,000.
We Work also gave out a single Community Giver Award to Sagi Shahar, CEO and co-founder of Nahshonim, which helps grow small businesses and non-profit organizations in Israel’s periphery.
It wasn’t all about medical devices and helping people do good, though. Local band The Angelcy won $18,000 in the Performing Arts category. Which was a good lead-in to the reason at least some of the Awards evening’s audience chose to spend the evening at Jerusalem’s Pais Arena: the opportunity to hear a live performance from Israeli pop superstar Netta Barzilai, who took Israel to first place in the 2018 Eurovision song competition with her #MeToo-inspired hit “Toy.”
The evening closed with a second live performance by one of Israel’s most popular artists, Aviv Geffen and the Mistakes.
WeWork has held Creator Award events in Mexico City, Shanghai, and San Francisco, with additional events planned for Nashville, São Paulo, London and Berlin. A Global Finals event, with the chance to win additional funds, will take place in January 2019.
WeWork was co-founded by Israeli entrepreneur Adam Neumann in 2010. It provides co-working space to more than 256,000 members around the world through 283 physical locations in over 75 cities across 22 countries.