Moovit Transit App Wins Ayn Rand Inspired Startup Award


Who is John Galt? Ayn Rand’s character in Atlas Shrugged may be fictional, but apparently he was a Zionist. On Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv, the Ayn Rand Center launched its first Atlas Award, an award meant to strengthen entrepreneurship and represent Rand’s individualistic ideals. He presented the award to Moovit, a company whose app provides real-time data on public transport. However, many of the prestigious event attendees also sought to distance themselves from some of the more controversial political elements of the Ayn Rand Center and Rand’s Philosophy.

The award, the first of its kind, came in the form of a large sculpture by Atlas, a nod to Rand’s novel, sculpted by Israeli-American sculptor Richard Minns. According to the organizers, Minns is the original idea of ​​the award. “This is the world premiere of this initiative and Israel is beta testing,” said Boaz Arad, director of the Ayn Rand Israel Center, which was founded in 2012 with the help and sponsorship of the Ayn Rand Institute based in Israel. United States. Besides the sculpture, which organizers say is worth around $ 70,000, the only other perk that comes with the prize is a sense of prestige. The award, according to organizers, was designed to promote Ayn Rand’s philosophy. as it applies to entrepreneurship and creativity. “The sculptor is very determined to connect the idea of ​​Start-up Nation to Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand,” said Yaron Brook, who heads the Ayn Rand Institute in the United States and is president of the Ayn Rand Center in Israel.Rand, whose novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged continue to sell in large volumes, founded a philosophical movement called Objectivism, which aligns with libertarian thought that places the role of the individual and individual freedom first. plan and seeks strict limitations on the government. In Rand’s novels, politicians could do no right in terms of promoting economic growth other than simply backing down. In recent years, Rand has become the darling of the Tea Party in the United States. FreedomWorks, an organization affiliated with the Tea Party, released a film version of Atlas Shrugged at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2011. The following year, Politico went so far as to compile a list of politicians who cited their admiration for Ayn Rand, who included only Republicans, including US President Ronald Reagan. Although the Ayn Rand organizations do not endorse political parties, there are some extreme elements that have clung to Rand’s work as an ideological guide. Brook, for example, had his book Equal is Unfair: America’s Misguided Tackling Income Inequality on display at Tuesday’s event. He vehemently opposes the consensus position of climatologists that climate change is a real, man-made phenomenon. Former US Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore visited Israel in 2008. Brook acknowledged that there was an apparent contradiction between Rand’s philosophy and Israel’s history of high-tech success, which has in many ways benefited from government support for research and development. , public-private partnerships and guarantees that have helped to launch the country’s venture capital environment. (The winner, Moovit, actually received a grant from the Office of the Chief Scientist, although they note that their funding comes mostly from private sources.) “Superficially, I think it’s fair that there is a sense of contradiction here. . I know Ayn Rand and we disapprove of public-private partnership, and I’m definitely in favor of limited government. The real question is whether it has benefited [Israel] or not ? ” he said. “But there is no doubt in my mind that the Israeli government is meddling and interfering too much in the high tech sector. Maybe if he intervened less, Israel would be better off. “I think there is a deeper reason about Israel, there is something special going on here, where I think the spirit that Atlas Shrugged represents is manifesting itself more than anywhere else. A country under siege, a country constantly in a state of struggle, yet [there are] more tech startups per capita than anywhere else in the world, ”he said. When asked about some of the most controversial positions taken by the Ayn Rand Institute and Center, many attendees, and even sponsors, sought to distance themselves from the controversial politics surrounding the award. “We are trying purely to focus on transport and travel, not on political issues. On the contrary, we would like to be as apolitical as possible, ”said Nir Erez, CEO of the award-winning Moovit. “I’m very proud because if you look at it, this is a company that is really making a difference or changing the world, and that’s really how we define ourselves,” he added. most influential start-ups. Karin Mayer Rubinstein, CEO of Israel Advanced Technology Industries – a high-tech umbrella group – served as a judge for the event, but sought to clarify that his organization’s position was to promote high technology, and that she spoke at the conference for this reason. Orna Kleinmann, head of SAP Labs in Israel, who also spoke at the panel, said: Meaningful and important not only to conference attendees, but also has a significant impact for all of us, locally and globally. SAP’s participation in this panel was strictly professional, in terms of conference attendees and TheMarker. ”For his part, Arad noted that some Parts of Rand’s ideology also promoted human rights, sexual freedom, and were staunchly pro-choice. “There are certain elements of the ideology that the left also agrees with,” he said. The award, he stressed, had to be focused on entrepreneurship and creativity.

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