“How can you connect chemists with south asia studies? UnBox- that`s how


Guided by success factors and disruptive trends, Bar-Ilan University researchers and off-campus entrepreneurs bond into inter-disciplinary UnBoxing teams focused on global scale challenges.



Following the Customer Development methodology, UnBoxing teams ideate novel solutions for chosen challenges and prepare for Product–Customer Validation with the aid of startup-savvy mentors.



Funded by UnBox, ready-to-go teams incorporate as startups to execute intensive Product-Customer Validation in the global market, and prepare for successful fund raising to follow their UnBox Day graduation.


UnBox Day 

UnBoxing is a year-long process based on the Customer Development methodology, which ends with an UnBox Day that features fundable graduates ready to unleash good on the world.


UnBox’20  program


UnBox is the world’s first Impact Creation Platform, which bonds researchers and solvers for positive global impact. The year-long three-phase UnBox ’20 Program, held on Bar-Ilan University’s campus, is open to Bar-Ilan University researchers and to off-campus entrepreneurs who together will establish fundable startups by the end of the program.

Eligible teams receive an investment package offered nowhere else: individual coaching and mentoring on the Customer Development methodology, funding for Customer Validation in the global market and a sweeping intellectual property waiver from Bar-Ilan University.


Eligible participants include Bar-Ilan researchers – principal investigators, research fellows and advanced degree students and off-campus entrepreneurs with prior startup experience. Participants will choose to engage in one of three domain clusters:

  • UrbanTech - Mobility, Energy and Habitat
  • LifeTech - Agriculture, Food, Healthcare
  • SocialTech - Community, Legal, Governance


Enrollment for UnBox ’20 is closed! 

December 01, 2019 - January 30, 2020

Form startup team, including at least one Bar-Ilan University researcher, focused on a solution for a global scale problem.

Success factor lectures, cluster-oriented seminars and round circles, team problem targeting, self-learn Udacity’s How to Build a Startup online class, team and personal coaching.

10 weeks


  • Success Factors Lecture – 1 hour | Tuesday | 15:00
  • Cluster Seminar / Round Circle – 2 hours
    UrbanTech -energy, urban fabric, mobility – Sunday | 16:30      
    LifeTech – agriculture, healthcare, food –  Tuesday | 16:30         
    SocialTech -legal, community, governance – Thursday | 16:30   
  • Self-learn Udacity Online Course  ~10 hours, self-paced
  • Team Problem Targeting – defined by team members
  • Team / Personal Coaching – office hours on a first-come basis
  • Storytelling Training – 3 hours for each team, last two weeks
  • Mentor Day Speed Dating – TBA

Recommended Reading:

  • The Startup Owner’s Manual / Steve Blank Amazon
  • The Lean Startup / Eric Ries Amazon
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma / Clayton Christensen Amazon
  • The Innovator’s Solution / Clayton Christensen Amazon
  • Business Model Generation / Alexander Osterwalder Amazon
  • Value Proposition Design / Alexander Osterwalder Amazon
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things / Ben Horowitz Amazon
  • The Other Side of Innovation / Govindarajan & Trimble Amazon
  • Talking to Humans: Success Starts with Understand Your Customers / Constable & Rimalovski Amazon

Serious participants will allocate a weekly average of five hours on-campus, five hours at their choice of place and time for self-study and problem investigation.
Participants will be eligible to continue to the Discovery phase only as teams focused on a clearly defined global scale problem with a solution meeting success factors criteria. 

March 22, 2020 - June 11, 2020

Readiness for Customer Validation in the global market with a cohesive team following success factors and the Customer Development methodology.

Weekly validation topic discussions; teamwork on Business Model Canvas, Customer Funnel, Online Identity and Minimum Viable Prop; mentor sessions; team and personal coaching; expert advice; startup founding.

10 weeks


  • Validation Simulator – 3 hours | Last two weeks of Discovery
  • Teamwork – as needed | Team effort
  • Expert Advice* – as needed | Service provider office hours
  • Founders Agreement – as needed | Team effort
  • Investment Agreement – as needed | Team effort
  • Mentor Session – 2 hours | Weekly, team & mentor choice of place
  • Team Coaching Session – 1 hour | Weekly, UnBox office hours
  • All Hands KPI Meeting – 2 hours | Monday 15:00

* Expert advice will be available during office hours at the UnBox Center, on topics including online identity, marketing, founding (legal & accounting), intellectual property.

Serious participants will allocate a weekly average of at least ten hours on- and off-campus.
Participants will be eligible to continue to the Validation phase only as an incorporated entity that has a) demonstrated readiness for Customer Validation; b) a viable team, with an UnBox approved Founders Agreement, c) signed the UnBox Investment Agreement.

July 12, 2020 - September 17, 2020

Seed Round readiness following successful Customer Validation in the global market.

Customer visits abroad; mentored pivoting; fundraising training; due diligence preparation; team and personal coaching.

13 weeks


  • Customer visits – 3 rounds | 1-2 business weeks each
  • Team work – as needed | Team effort
  • Mentor Session – 2 hours | Weekly, team and mentor choice
  • Team Coaching Session – 1 hour | Weekly, Chief Coach office hours
  • Fundraising Lectures – 1 hour | Monday, 13:00
  • All Hands Meeting – 2 hours | Monday, 15:00


Founders will allocate weekly average of 20 hours on- and off-campus.

UnBox Day
October 2020
(date to be determined during Validation phase)

Exposure to Seed Round investors and global customers

Storytelling, pitch development and stage performance.

2 weeks

CEO will allocate a 20 hours on-campus during these two weeks, including on-stage at UnBox Day.

UnBox faq

Civilization’s move from Industrial to Insight era coincides with the historic disruptions of climate change, wobbly globalization, shaky governance, snowballing healthcare costs and the rise of artificial intelligence. At Bar-Ilan University, we believe the complex challenges humanity faces can and will be solved when research excellence meets purposeful entrepreneurship, starting right here at UnBox.

UnBox is yet another Startup Nation innovation, operating from the lovely and lively campus of Bar-Ilan University. We invest priceless startup expertise, pre-seed capital, cool workspace, intellectual property and tender loving care in researcher-entrepreneur teams that want to change the world for the better.

You can think of us as a combination of research center, academic program, matchmaker, technology transfer office, tech incubator, startup accelerator, venture capital fund and strategic co-founder. But we’d rather you think of us as the world’s first Impact Creation Platform that creates, curates and invests in researcher-entrepreneur teams that aim for positive global impact.

The UnBox program is open to Bar-Ilan University (BIU) researchers and to off-campus entrepreneurs. BIU researchers include senior staff, principal investigators (PI), research fellows and advanced degrees students. Off-campus entrepreneurs include those who have had a taste of entrepreneurship, e.g. as founders and key persons at startups or participants in incubation or acceleration programs.

While Bar-Ilan’s roots are in Judaic Studies, it has developed into a comprehensive research university over the past 65 years. Bar-Ilan boasts eight faculties and fifty-four departments:

  • Engineering, including electrical engineering, computer engineering, bioengineering;
  • Exact Sciences, including computer science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biophysics;
  • Life Sciences, including optometry & vision, bio-informatics, bio-technology, ecology & plant science, immunology & cancer, micro-biology & virology, neuro-biology and more;
  • Social Sciences, including business administration, psychology, education, criminology, logistics and more;
  • Medical School, including biochemistry, cancer, energetics, metabolism, pharmacology, genetics, anatomy, morphology, developmental biology, cell biology, healthcare, medical ethics and more;
  • Law School;
  • Humanities, including translation, information science, linguistics, music, Asian studies and more;
  • Multidisciplinary Studies, including brain science, nanotechnology, conflict management, gender studies and more;
  • Judaic Studies, including contemporary Jewry, Middle Eastern studies and more.

We expect that some of the most exciting startups at UnBox will come from interdisciplinary teams across Bar-Ilan departments and off-campus entrepreneurs with rich sets of competencies.

We use a waterfall selection method through the program phases – Mixer (Fall), Discovery (Spring), Validation (Summer):

  • Mixer is open to any and all researchers and entrepreneurs, with no selection criteria other than eligibility.
  • Discovery is open to founding teams that have formed during Mixer to solve a global scale problem and have attracted a mentor from among the UnBox mentor lineup.
  • Validation is open to founding teams that have successfully completed Discovery, and are party to a Founders Agreement and an Investment Agreement with UnBox.

The program takes a full year because our goal is not just to produce startups, but to build cohesive founding teams that operate with confidence in discomfort zones – teams that attack complex global challenges with solid intellectual property, viable business models and validated product-market fit. Building such teams takes time and effort.

Your time commitment builds up through the program.

During Mixer and Discovery, 10 weeks each, expect to commit 10 hours a week, on-and off-campus. For 13 summer weeks of Validation, expect to allocate an average of 20 hours a week. Team members leading Customer Validation should plan for three trips abroad.

UnBox startups are exempt from Bar-Ilan University’s standard technology transfer policy. Startups that enter the Validation phase receive a royalty-free, perpetual global license to any past, present and future IP developed and assigned to the startup by its research co-founders. If you think this is less than revolutionary, simply ask researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.

UnBox provides each startup entering the Validation phase with $25,000, a grant to be used solely for Customer Validation in the global market.

Yes, of course! For investing priceless startup expertise, pre-seed capital, cool workspace, sweeping intellectual property waiver and tender loving care, UnBox gets 5% of your startup in common shares. UnBox also gets a modest share of the equity granted to research co-founders.

As a matter of fact, yes. Our pilot program UnBox ’19 has sprouted 7 startups out of more than 60 research ideas. Follows methodologies practiced at YCombinator and leading acceleration funds in the United States, and programs at world-leading research universities such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, Caltech and MIT. In Israel, the same methodology has been used at Capsula Studio, where 15 startups have raised more than $120 million, under the direction of  Ariel Sella, now Managing Director of UnBox Ventures.

Customer Development is the methodology at the core of the UnBox program. Layered on top of Eric Reis’s Lean Startup, Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas and Steve Blank’s Launchpad, Customer Development is a four-phase startup development model. The first two phases – Customer Discovery and Customer Validation – define an iterative process of testing and pivoting on critical business model hypotheses to define the right product for the right market rapidly, accurately and efficiently – before raising your seed investment. Surprisingly, it looks very much like the Scientific Method, except your experimental subjects are not mice but customers, whom you need to treat with true empathy.

Areas of interest at UnBox are clustered in three broad areas: UrbanTech with energy, urban fabric and mobility; LifeTech with agriculture, health and food;  SocialTech with justice, community and governance. 

UnBox Day is a celebration of our graduating startups following a year of intensive discovery and validation, and the launch of their Seed Round funding effort. We invite to this annual event angel and venture capital investors, global firms seeking open innovation and prospective participants in the program from within and outside Bar-Ilan University.

UnBox startups will have an easier time raising their Seed Round because, following intensive Customer Validation, they will show investors key differences from first-time founder teams:

  • Referenceable prospective customers in the global market confirming product-market fit;
  • Deep marketplace knowledge resulting from tens of customer meetings;
  • Key traits investors look for: leadership, persistence, customer empathy, flexible agility.
  • Confident operation in discomfort zones – the critical quality of great founders.

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