U-M Investment Group TAMID Introduces Students to Entrepreneurship, Israeli Startups
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companies, depending on whom you ask. And items like Intel’s Pentium chip and ICQ—the technology that ultimately turned into AOL Instant Messenger—were originally developed in Israel.
According to Nathan Gilson, the vice president in charge of TAMID’s fellowship program and a sophomore at U-M, the program gives students an introduction to the innovation-heavy environment that proliferates in the country, which is about the same size as New Jersey. Members are able to take what they learn from this intense environment and apply it to their studies and experience in the U.S. “There’s such a startup culture in Israel, and going there and being involved in their business world, you can’t help but feel it,” Gilson says.
Gilson, who spent last summer in Jerusalem interning for a solar housing company called Real Housing, said he was able to connect with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists across the country during his time there. He even got the chance to showcase TAMID in a presentation to TechAviv, an organization of Israeli high-tech founders and investors.
“The response was astoundingly positive,” Gilson says, adding that after the trip he was able to count many of TechAviv’s members among TAMID’s “network of both startup companies and investors in Israel.”
In addition to hobnobbing with big players in the Israeli startup scene, Gilson says participating in TAMID gave him the chance to have an immediate impact on an Israeli startup. During the second phase of the program, Gilson did some consulting work for IceCure Medical, a Caesarea-based startup that makes a medical device for treating benign breast tumors through a non-invasive procedure. “As a small company without that many resources, they didn’t know what it meant to sell in the American marketplace,” Gilson says. “We kind of filled that void for them. They were so appreciative of our work.”
Indeed, the startup companies not only learn from the students, but the group’s members also learn about how to run an organization from their work with the companies, according to Allison Berman, the group’s vice president for programming. What’s more, it’s relatively easy for the group’s members to relate to Israeli startups because of the “dynamic” nature of TAMID, says Berman, a sophomore in Michigan’s business school.
“It’s such a new group that I can have a very formative role in how the group ends up running,” she says. “It’s kind of like beginning on a startup venture.”