StemRad Vest launched into space Nov 2

FIBA’s StemRad Israeli start-up sent its radiation shield to the International Space Station in November. NASA is testing the vests in space to find ways to protect astronauts from deep space radiation. It also marks the first time the Israeli flag has ever been aboard an International Space Station.

The two female Astronauts are testing the radiation shields for comfort, range of motion and how easy it is to put on and take off. The results of the 8-month testing will be incorporated into design upgrades ahead of the 2020 launch to the Moon and Mars.

StemRad is backed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, who was part of a $6 million round of financing in Tampa Bay.

Tampa General Hospital is also working with StemRad to build a product that will protect medical staff from harmful radiation rays.

FIBA, the Florida-Israeli business accelerator program, started in 2016 to connect high-potential Israeli startups with a carefully selected support network of local and regional advisors and investors.

Other FIBA success stories include WeissBeerger, a data-analytic company for the beer and beverage industry, which was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev for $80 million in 2018; ECOncrete, which was contracted by the city of St. Petersburg to build an ecological seawall that will support sea life growth while strengthening infrastructure and was also ranked by Fast Company’s 2019 listing as one of the most innovative companies; UC-Care, a healthcare company which developed a test for more precise biopsy procedures for prostate cancer, raised $1 million from Tampa investors and sold its system to Suncoast Urology. Other success stories include Tevatronic, Globe Keepers, QinFlow and WiseShelf.

FIBA has a specific goal of encouraging and establishing Israeli tech operations in the Tampa Bay area. The program focuses on two areas that align with the Florida economy – health and wellness and urban technology.

Health and wellness includes digital health, health monitoring tech and medical devices. Florida is the top destination for retirees, has the nation’s second largest medical device manufacturing industry and the third largest pharmaceuticals manufacturing industry.

Urban technology includes technology for the real estate industry, construction solutions and smart city technologies. Florida is the third most populous state and growing. The real estate industry accounts for more than 22% of the gross state product.

Florida has the fourth largest economy in the US behind California, Texas and New York. The gross domestic product hit $1 trillion for the first time in 2018.

FIBA holds quarterly events featuring innovation by local companies as well as the premier event showcasing Israeli start-up companies looking to expand into the US market.

View video about StemRad’s AstroRad Vest in space here.

Article by Susan Leavitt

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