Lyve Labs Innovator of the Year Award

Seagate’s Lyve Labs is always looking for innovators to partner with; partnerships can empower innovations by revealing breakthrough ways to work with data.

Lyve Labs is a collaborative platform through which Seagate works with innovators, startups, and enterprises to create solutions that harness the flow of data. Together with partners, Lyve Labs learns from real-world and theoretical challenges and works to develop simple, secure, and efficient ways to work with, move, and optimize data for the good of humanity — data for good.

This year, Lyve Labs’ Israel innovation center went on the hunt to find one company — among hundreds of inventive startups in its regional data solutions ecosystem — to receive its first Innovator of the Year award. Israel is a vibrant hub of datasphere innovation, with the largest number of startups per capita in the world and with more than 10% of the labor force employed in the high-tech industry. The new award was established to identify and reward innovative startups and connect their solutions with data technology conceptualization, planning, process and manufacturing challenges.

Registrations started over the summer and were open to any Israeli startup working with mass data. To qualify, the company had to be established after 2005 and have raised less than 20 million USD. Registrations were open to any industry and any stage of startup, as long as they were working on data solutions or working with mass data applications.

The application period saw great engagement with 90 startups applying for the award. The startups came from a huge variety of industries and data use applications.

Although not all of the applicants could be selected to attend the final event, every one represented a potential partnership for Seagate to collaborate with on data opportunities. Ken Claffey, Seagate VP and GM, enterprise data solutions, said the event benefits Seagate in several ways.

“I think it was good for us to get exposed to all these new startups,” he said. “Their innovation, and the forward-looking problems they are considering, can help inform some of our own thinking, especially as we’re building our open-source ecosystem around CORTX and the broader Lyve platform. We’re planning a CORTX hackathon this quarter to help further tap into insights and concerns among developers in the Israeli ecosystem.”

90 applicants and eight finalists

A cross-functional selection committee narrowed the initial field of 90 applicants down to these eight candidates:

  1. Satori Cyber. Data access governance platform that enables simple, secure and compliant access to data.
  2. MedAware. Their flagship medication safety platform is the first in a suite of AI-enabled decision support solutions that transform real provider practice data into actionable knowledge for the payer, provider, and consumer markets.
  3. Addionics. Their mission is to design and build the best battery architecture in the market.
  4. QuantLR. Their main focus is to maintain the ultimate level of security at a much lower cost.
  5. Kando. They use data in wastewater management to make a healthier environment and improved way of living.
  6. Kameleon. They plan to deliver a trustworthy foundation to computer systems by running critical security functions in their own dedicated and isolated processor.
  7. NoTraffic. Traffic management has been heavily neglected of the past 100 years, but no more. NoTraffic is using data analysis to imagine smarter and safer streets with fewer traffic jams.
  8. Tevel. The shortage of labor during harvest is among the most difficult challenges growers face today. Tevel’s mission is to lead a transformation to on demand fruit harvesting via flying autonomous robots.

These eight finalists were invited to participate in a live pitch event on September 16, 2020.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was held with a mix of virtual and in-person participation. The Lyve Labs team worked hard to ensure all laws and protocols were closely followed to maintain safety with a very limited number of participants allowed at the in-person event and all masking and social distancing restrictions enforced.

Five executive Seagate judges attended the virtual part of the event to evaluate the pitch and innovations of each startup. The judges were Joan Motsinger, Seagate SVP of Business Excellence; Ravi Naik, Seagate CIO and SVP; Matt Rutledge, Seagate SVP of Strategy and Corporate Development; Ken Claffey, Seagate VP and GM, enterprise data solutions; and Jeff Fochtman, Seagate SVP of marketing and business.

“All of the final eight companies were impressive,” said Fochtman. “Their pitches were quite different based on the individual company, sector and spokesperson, but they all shared a clear passion for their brand and opportunity.”

Each startup had a strict three minutes to present their business, followed by ten minutes answering questions posed by the judges about their products, technology and plans. The judges evaluated the startups using an objective framework based on innovation, business plan, presentation, and connection to using data for good.

Seagate judge Joan Motsinger on screen

After an intense two hours of presentations, the judges deliberated and selected Kando as the winner based on the above criteria.

“Kando in particular hit the mark with both innovation and a clear benefit for humanity — a very timely solution,” Fochtman said of the winner.

“I love the idea of controlling our infrastructure to enhance the human condition, and I think that’s critical to moving us forward,” said Motsinger.

Kando received a $10,000 USD cash prize, the opportunity to partner with Seagate on a proof of concept or use case study, co-marketing opportunities, and Seagate product(s) to enable their business.


About the Author:

John Paulsen
John Paulsen is a "Data for Good" advocate, with more than 20 years in the data storage industry. He's helped launch many industry-firsts including HAMR technology, 10K-rpm and 15K-rpm hard drives, drives designed specifically for video and for gaming, Serial ATA drives, fluid dynamic HDD motors, 60TB SSDs, and MACH.2 multi-actuator technology.