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.

Has winning the AI XPRIZE Challenge and the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge had an effect on the goals you’d named in our previous interview in February?

In February, we were at the final preparation stages of the operation in São Tomé and Príncipe. Since then, we have launched the operation, and now, after winning the competitions, we have the resources not only to complete this operation at a high level but also to launch additional operations in other countries.

Since its founding in 2016 Zzapp has gone from strength to strength, not only winning two prestigious competitions in 2021, but also launching its first country-wide elimination operation in São Tomé and Príncipe. Do you have any advice for aspiring change-makers?

Arnon reminded us that exciting as winning the competitions is, this year’s real achievement is launching the operation in São Tomé and Príncipe and that this is where our real success will be measured. Hence my advice for aspiring change-makers: stay focused. Dream big, but find meaning and satisfaction in your day-to-day work.

Thank you to Yonatan for taking the time to talk with us, we look forward to seeing what’s next for Zzapp!

Leave a comment

Log in to Comment

We use cookies and other technologies to collect data about your use of our site and about your browser, device and location. We process this data to help us understand how the site is used and to personalize our content and the advertising you see on this and other sites we also share this data with advertising, social media and analytics partners for the same purposes. By choosing “Accept All” you agree that we store cookies on your device and process the data for the aforementioned purposes . You may revoke your consent at any time by choosing the respective settings. For more information on the processing of personal data and what specific services we use see our Privacy Policy

Privacy Preference Center

We use cookies and other technologies to collect data about your use of our site and about your browser, device and location. We process this data to help us understand how the site is used and to personalize our content and the advertising you see on this and other sites we also share this data with advertising, social media and analytics partners for the same purposes. By choosing “Accept All” you agree that we store cookies on your device and process the data for the aforementioned purposes . You may revoke your consent at any time by choosing the respective settings. For more information on the processing of personal data and what specific services we use see our Privacy Policy

Necessary Cookies

These cookies are required to provide you with our site and its functions. Since storing these cookies is necessary for the provision of our site and its functions, you cannot disable them. If you block these cookies via you browser settings our site may not function properly.

Analyse Cookies

These cookies enable us to use website analytics in order to improve our site or provide you with personalized content. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages.

Marketing Cookies

These cookies enable us to use online marketing and advertising in order to provide you on this or on other sites with personalized advertisement. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages.