Congratulations to 2020 Falling Walls Lab Israel winner Yonatan Fialkoff and the team at start-up Zzapp for two major wins! Within one month, Zzapp was awarded first place in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE Challenge, and the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge. This is a huge vote of confidence for Zzapp’s innovative use of AI to enhance planning and implementation of malaria elimination operations. We caught up with Yonatan to chat about Zzapp’s recent successes and plans for the future.
Winning the grand prize of the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE Challenge is a huge achievement, how did you celebrate when you found out you’d won?
The finals event was online so we had all gathered in advance, with friends and family, to view the screening. A split second after the 2nd place was announced, everyone started clapping and screaming. Someone burst into the room where our CEO, Arnon, was being filmed, and emptied a bottle of champagne over him.
Shortly after you found out you’d won the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge too. In an e-mail to us you said you were overwhelmed, how are you feeling now?
Still excited but it’s sinking in. It helped that I had to take care of some urgent assignments such as composing and sending out press releases and thank you notes.