This Is Us

TAU Ventures Team

Nimrod Cohen

Managing Partner

Shira Gal

VP Business Development

Karin Schnaiderman

Business Operations Manager

Dana Brindt

Office Manager

Board Members

Prof. Ariel Porat

DIRECTOR

Prof. Ariel Porat was elected the ninth President of Tel Aviv University in May 2019. After receiving his LLB degree and direct JSD degree at TAU, he performed post-doctoral studies at Yale Law School.  In 1990, he joined TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law, where he is the incumbent of the Alain Poher Chair in Private Law. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Prof. Porat’s main research interests are torts, contract law and the economic analysis of the law, and he has published many books and articles in these areas. He served for 15 years as an Associate Member and Fischel-Neil Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago (2003-2019). He was also Visiting Professor at Stanford University, and at the Universities of New York, Columbia, Berkeley, Virginia and Toronto. He was a member of the Board of the American Law and Economics Association for three years, and is a member of the American Law Institute.

 

From 2002 to 2006, Prof. Porat served as Dean of the Buchmann Faculty of Law, during which period he introduced joint LLM programs together with the UC Berkeley and Northwestern University. He also founded an admittance program for students from Israel’s geographic and social periphery, which was initially at the Law Faculty and thereafter adopted throughout the University. Prior to his appointment as Dean, Prof. Porat was Director of the Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law (1997-2002), where he founded the journal Theoretical Inquiries in Law, today ranked as one of the world’s leading journals in the field of law theory.

Prof. Porat has been the recipient of numerous honors, among them the EMET Prize, Chesin Prize, Zeltner Prize and Zusman Prize.

Dr. Shlomo Markel

Chairman

Since 2001, Dr. Shlomo Markel has been serving as Vice President, CTO Office, at Broadcom, a global leading multinational fabless semiconductor company. In his broad role in R&D, global tech roadmaps, M&A and investments, he reports to Dr. Henry Samueli, Broadcom’s Co-Founder & CTO. Dr. Markel also oversees Broadcom operations in Israel, where Broadcom acquired in the last decade 13 startup companies, growing R&D centers in Israel to hundreds of engineers in multiple sites. After retiring from the Israeli Navy as an R. Admiral, Chief of Material Command, overseeing programs, R&D, logistics & engineering after serving in variety of advanced tech and embedded computer systems’ engineering & commanding roles, Dr. Markel was Argoquest CTO, a US holding company with over 60 startups portfolio. He holds a Technion DSc in EE and a honorary fellowship; is Ramot, TAU TTO, Chairman and is a member of the GoI D&O Nominees’ Approval Committee.

 

Gady Frank

Director

Director-General of Tel Aviv University

Gady Frank is an alumnus of Tel Aviv University, having completed both his BA degree in Economics (Cum Laude) and Communication and MA in Economics (Cum Laude) at the University. From 2006-09 Mr. Frank served as senior economist on the National Economic Council of the Prime Minister’s Office. He then went on to hold several key positions on the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), including serving as Deputy Director-General for Planning and Policy from 2009-11; Deputy Director General, Head of Budgeting Division from 2011-13; and Director General of the Planning and Budgetary Committee and the CHE from 2013-2017.

Orna Berry

Director

Orna Berry is an Israeli scientist, High-tech entrepreneur, businesswoman, senior executive among the Israeli science and technology industries and laureate of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Award. Orna Berry is recognized for her work in promoting excellence, entrepreneurship, and innovation in Israeli society. She was the first woman to serve as Chief Scientist and head of the industrial R&D operation of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour (1996–2000).
Among her many achievements, Orna received the Cyber Protector Award for her exceptional contribution to Cyber Research in Israel and two honorary fellowship awards recognizing her lifetime pioneering and entrepreneurship activities from the Academic College of Tel-Aviv and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
Berry received her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Southern California (USC) and was awarded with an honorary degree at McGill University in 2017.

Ohad Finkelstein

Director

Ohad Finkelstein lead the international investment of Venrock from 2005 -2011. He has an extensive background in the finance, technology, and telecom industries as well as in developing new companies, markets, and products globally; In 2011 Ohad co founded Crescent Point Lantern with offices in Singapore and Israel. His prior stint as Chairman, President, and CEO of the pan-European Interoute Telecom Group added to his previous experience as Senior Vice President International Sales and Vice President Global Operations for VocalTec Communications Ltd. Ohad has also held management positions at companies including Packard Bell Electronics in the U.S. and has served as a senior advisor for IDEA, a world leader in financial and economic analysis. In 2008, Ohad was named one of the 100 most influential people in telecom by Global Telecoms Business magazine.
Ohad holds bachelors degrees in Political Science and International Marketing from the University of California in Los Angeles. He is a member of the UK IOD (Institute of Directors).
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

Prof. Yoav Henis

Director

Prof. Yoav Henis is TAU Vice President for Research and Development. In 1974 received his B.Sc. Cum Laude after completing his studies in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Hebrew University. In 1978 he completed his doctoral thesis (direct course for Ph.D.) Summa Cum Laude at the Hebrew University, under the guidance of Prof. Alexander Levitzki. This thesis has won the Hebrew University Kennedy-Lee prize for the best thesis of the year. Between 1978 and 1981 he was a post-doctoral fellow (supported by Chaim Weizmann Fellowship from the Weizmann Institute) under the guidance of Prof. Elliot Elson, first at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) and then at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO). Upon his return to Israel in 1981 he became a Faculty member at the Department of Biochemistry, and then the Department of Neurobiology, in the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University. In addition, Prof. Henis held visiting scholar positions at the M.I.T. (Whitehead Institute), Cambridge, MA (1987-8, 1992-3, 1998-9), the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at Berkeley, CA (2003-4), and Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC (2009-10). Prof. Henis has served as the head of the Committee for acceptance of undergraduate students to the Faculty of Life Sciences (1985-7), the secretary of the Israel Society for Cell Biology (1991-5), the head of the Department of Neurobiochemistry (today named Neurobiology) (1995-8), and was a member in many University and National Committees.

 

Aaron Mankovski

Director

Aaron Mankovski is a Managing General Partner at Pitango Venture Capital. Previously he founded, and was a Managing General Partner, of Eucalyptus Ventures. Prior to founding Eucalyptus, he served as Corporate Vice President of Orbotech Ltd.(NASDAQ: ORBK). In addition, Aaron served as President and CEO of Orbotech Inc, HQ in Boston USA.
Aaron currently serves on the boards of: OptimalPlus, Kaminario, Jethro Data, Sckipio, Riskified, Tailor Brands and is an observer at Formlabs. Previously he served on the Board of Directors of Chromatis Networks (acquired by Lucent for $4.5 Billion). Aaron is also the founder and former Chairmain ot HTIA, now IATI – Israel Advanced Technology Industries (formerly: IVA/HTIA). Aaron holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Statistics from Tel Aviv University and has also served as a pilot in the Israeli Air Force.

Prof. Yair Aharonowitz

Director

Yair Aharonowitz, Ph.D., is a Professor (Emeritus) of Microbiology and Biotechnology at Tel Aviv University (TAU). After receiving his Ph.D from TAU, he was a research fellow in biochemical engineering at MIT (USA), and since 1976 he has become a member of the academic staff of TAU. He was a visiting scientist at Oxford University (UK), an Alberta Heritage Fellow at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, and a visiting professor at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) and at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Prof. Aharonowitz research interests include the molecular genetics and biosynthesis of antibiotics, molecular biology of microbial pathogens and the development of new targets for new antibiotics, thiol-disulfide redox metabolism and metabolic regulation at the transcription level by transcription factors and riboswitch mechanisms. He maintains close cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry and serves as a member of the BOD of Compugen. During his service at TAU, Prof. Aharonowitz held several senior positions, as TAU Vice President and Dean for R&D, Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology and Chairman of the Institute of Biotechnology. He was a member of Tel Aviv University Executive Council and of TAU Board of Governors. Prof. Aharonowitz served as the Chairman of Ramot Fund for Applied Research, as a member of TAU committee for strategic planning, in the TAU patent committee, he was a member of the National Committee for Biotechnology and served as a member of the Israel Prize committee (in the life sciences). Prof. Aharonowitz is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Sharon Kaplinsky

Director

Sharon is a leading specialist in international business development within the healthcare industry (Biopharma, Medical Devices, Digital Health, Health IT).

Moved by the brilliant, innovative, and resilient ability of Israeli start-ups to contribute to the world’s most pressing challenges, Sharon was inspired to help accelerate the growth of Israeli technologies and connect them with the right partners and investors.

Star Tree Ventures was born.

Prior to founding Star Tree Ventures, Sharon was a founder and managed the business development and strategic planning of Orphan Technologies Ltd, a company focused on research and development of innovative therapies for rare, life-threatening diseases with unmet medical needs. In this role, she conducted the due-diligence on hundreds of early-stage healthcare products and led several licensing transactions.

Prior to that, Sharon was an Associate Consultant at Defined Health, a leading Business Development consulting company in New Jersey. In that capacity, she provided strategic advice, support, and due-diligence to leading global biopharmaceutical companies, focused on the scientific, clinical, regulatory, and commercial outlook for their products.

Sharon also served as Research Analyst at Science and Technology Ventures, the Technology Transfer Office of Columbia University.

Sharon has evaluated and provided deep diligence on hundreds of products in dozens of indications, both for biopharmaceutical companies, as well as leading healthcare investment funds.

Sharon is a Board member at Ramot, the Technology Transfer Office of Tel Aviv University and a mentor in several Israeli accelerators.

Sharon holds a MA in Biotechnology from Columbia University and a B.Sc. Summa Cum Laude in Biology from Tel-Aviv University (Member of Special Honors Research Program).

Prof. Gil Markovich

Director

Prof. Gil Markovich was the head of the School of Chemistry at TAU between 2012-2016. In 1996 he received a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics under the guidance of Prof. Ori Cheshnovsky and then moved to UCLA for post-doctoral research with Prof. James Heath. In 1998 he returned to TAU and established a lab to study the physical properties of colloidal inorganic nanomaterials. His expertise includes preparation and studies of magnetic nanocrystals, metal nanowire films and nanoscale chirality. In recent years several applied projects emerged out of his lab, several patents were registered and various cooperation projects with high-tech companies were initiated

Prof. Itai Benhar

Director

Prof. Benhar received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Hebrew University in 1992, where he studied control of bacterial gene expression. Prof. Benhar did his post-doctoral training at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, working with Dr. Ira Pastan on recombinant immunotoxins.  In 1995, Prof. Benhar joined the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology at Tel Aviv University as a tenure-track assistant professor. Prof. Benhar received tenure in 2002, became an associate professor in 2005 and a full professor in 2008.  Between 2007 to 2011 Prof. Benhar served as the Department Chairman. Since 2014, Prof. Benhar is serving as Vice Dean for Research of the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Eden Shochat

Director

Eden is an equal partner at Aleph, an early stage venture capital fund with $344 million under management, focused on serving Israeli entrepreneurs who want to build big, scalable, global businesses.

Prior to founding Aleph, Eden was a general partner at Genesis where he focused on seed-stage investments and was a co-founder of face.com, the world leader in massive, web-scale face recognition in social networks, acquired by Facebook. He also co-founded and was the CTO of Aternity, acquired by Riverbed, where he led the strategic product direction for its dominant user-experience monitoring platform.

Entrepreneurship is a passion for Eden, who started The Junction that was voted as the #1 startup program in Israel. He is one of the organizers of the annual Geekcon geeks conference and also teaches at the IDC (Herzliya interdisciplinary center) Zell entrepreneurship program.