From creating instant messaging technology and Waze to inventing drip irrigation and water desalination solutions, Israel has become a global tech leader. This year, investors have been flocking to Israel from New York, China and all over the world in order to find opportunities, as Israeli entrepreneurs continue to raise the bar and think out-of-the-box. Here are 15 exciting Israeli tech startups to watch in 2016, in the fields of finance, media, advertising, health, consumer tech, and cyber security, literally, from A to Z:
Launched in 2015, Audioburst is bringing radio into the modern age by making it searchable and shareable. Radio has remained virtually the only medium that isn't easy to consume online, meaning radio content hardly ever goes viral and effectively disappears into thin air as soon as it is broadcast. Audioburst has begun recording and automatically transcribing radio broadcasts through its sophisticated search engine, so that users can search for snippets, called "bursts," on topics that interest them-whether sports, politics, business, or highly specific search terms. The company brings value to radio stations because it allows their content to have a longer shelf life, while at the same time offering monetization and distribution opportunities.
The next generation of disease diagnosis may be based on a process known as qPCR, or quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. AzurePCR, based in the UK and founded by Israeli software engineers, is at the forefront of making this technology available to health care workers. The method involves extracting DNA from a bacteria, virus, or other pathogen. Then AzurePCR's product called AccuCall uses machine learning to analyze the DNA and develop a "fingerprint" to help identify it. The result is a much faster, cheaper and automated diagnosis than would be possible with human analysis. The time, money and error savings could be invaluable in stemming outbreaks of diseases like H1N1 or SARS and allowing low income individuals to self diagnose, treat and prevent.
CheckMarx tackles zero-day exploits at the source, in lines of code as they're being written. By monitoring every stage of its clients' software development, CheckMarx is able to scrutinize code with a fine-toothed comb and find vulnerabilities early. It's much cheaper and more effective to fix a problem when it's new rather than "patch" it after having been on the market. The financial value of unearthing software vulnerabilities is virtually incalculable for a big company, since the potential costs of hacks are so high. So business is booming for CheckMarx, with clients like Coca-Cola, SAP, and Salesforce. In June, the company closed a monster round of venture funding worth $84 million, bringing total investments to $92 million.
Dapulse is a sleekly designed project management tool that brings transparency to organizations by allowing teams to collaborate easily. The platform is intuitive, visual and flexible, to a degree that managers can fully customize the look and content of their dashboards. The customization options allow for dapulse to have many use cases, from project management and CRM to task lists and collaborative communication. Since 2012 dapulse has brought in $4 million in venture and angel funding. Thousands of companies are using dapulse, including big names like AOL, Discovery and WeWork.
After you make a purchase, you're finished with comparing prices. But in at least one product category that doesn't make sense. Airplane ticket prices fluctuate wildly and unpredictably. There's never a guarantee that your flight won't cost half as much two weeks after you book it. Fairfly lets users capture those savings. If the price of a flight drops so far that the potential savings make up for the cancellation fee, Fairfly automatically cancels the original itinerary and books the new one. The company takes a 9% commission and gives the user the rest. Based in California and founded by a young Israeli team, Fairfly raised $2 million of venture funding in June 2015 to add to an undisclosed amount of seed capital.
A cybersecurity firm, Fraudlogix detects fraudulent website traffic, which can harm advertisers and publishers tremendously. The company protects online brands against risks associated with purchasing fraudulent traffic. Fraudlogix uses proprietary algorithms and databases to detect this and other types of fraud that other methods miss. The company, with offices in Florida and Israel, keeps funding and revenue numbers close to the chest. But its name often comes up as a primary source when news breaks about fraud. It has established the Register of Top Performers, an index of sites with low fraudulent traffic.
Gett is a ride hailing app operating in 50 cities including New York, London, Tel Aviv and Moscow. The company, which prides itself on no surge pricing and 24/7 customer service, got its start in Israel and has grown significantly since. According to Gett's CEO, the company has tripled its revenues year over year since 2011 and is at a $500m revenue run rate. The company plans to expand into delivery of items and other conveniences.
Rather than keeping hackers out, Illusive Networks sets a trap for them. The company's novel approach to cybersecurity involves creating pathways through a company's servers that appear to be real, but which are actually alarm systems. This method of detection helps companies respond to threats calmly. "We have customers who don't pull the plug on the hacker, but let him keep moving and see what he's doing and better know the nature of the attacker and what he's after," CEO Shlomo Touboul told TechCrunch. Enterprises have taken to Illusive Networks' approach and investors have followed. In October, the company closed a $22 million Series B round, bringing total funding to $27 million.
Mapme lets companies-or anyone, for that matter-create collaborative, custom maps and embed them on any website. The service has been used to map everything from restaurants serving hummus around the world to Ukraine's tech companies and startups. Once a map is live, the map's creator can choose to allow anyone to update it with new locations and information. The maps are sleeker and much more customizable than embedded Google Maps. Founder Ben Lang started Mapme as a side project while serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Last year the company raised $1 million from two Israeli investors to fund expansion and R&D.
Like Waze for public transportation, Moovit leverages user data as well as publically available information like schedules to give the most efficient directions from point A to point B. Like Google Maps' public transit feature, Moovit combines various modes of transportation from walking to buses to subways. But it differentiates itself with its user data, which Google doesn't have access to. In some cities, Moovit also allows users to hail a ride through the app. Investors have pumped more than $80 million into the company.
Every time an e-commerce store makes a sale it has to make a decision: in exchange for a credit card number, which may or may not be legitimate, should I deliver a real good? Most online stores aren't in a position to accurately gauge the risk inherent in this decision, so they are too conservative. This means rejecting transactions and losing some legitimate sales. Riskified takes this decision out of its customers' hands. The Tel Aviv-based company specializes in assessing the risk of dubious credit card transactions. It takes financial responsibility for any transactions it approves, meaning that its customers can accept more transactions and not pay the price for making the wrong decision. Founded in 2012, Riskified secured seed money from angel investors in 2013 and closed a $4 million Series A round the following year.
Global e-commerce and online advertising companies (among others) make thousands of payments to partners all over the world every day. The back office workload this creates can be crushing. Tipalti has been a lifesaver for many of these businesses. It automates the process of making global mass payments and also manages the complexities of international regulatory and tax compliance. Some of the company's clients have seen the resources they devote to making payments cut by 50 percent or more. Founded in 2010 by Chen Amit, a serial tech entrepreneur, and Oren Zeev, a prolific angel investor (Chegg, Duda Mobile, Houzz, and others), Tipalti raised $13 million in 2014 to fund continuing growth.
TOM was built on the idea that many real-world problems could be solved if only technologists and makers would be made aware of them. TOM events, which began in Israel and have been hosted around the world, bring together engineers, technologists, and makers of all kinds for three days to tackle specific challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. At one TOM makeathon, participants created a walker with two joints in the middle to help a woman who couldn't walk on her own climb stairs. At another, engineers and electricians collaborated to create a bionic hand. Sponsored by Stratasys and Makerbot, TOM is looking for new host cities and participants.
Votiro has achieved the holy grail of cybersecurity: technology that can defend against zero-day attacks. Zero-day exploits take advantage of vulnerabilities that are unknown to security firms, which makes them extremely difficult to defend against. Zero-day exploits and other malware can be embedded in innocuous-looking email attachments, which is how most of them reach corporate servers. Votiro's software can ferret out these threats even though they're unknown (most anti-virus software looks for known threats). The software is in such demand that Votiro, founded in Tel Aviv in 2009, has not needed significant outside funding. The company is profitable and self-sustaining.
The only device of its kind, Zuta is a truly mobile printer. The palm-sized printer moves over paper on wheels as it deposits ink. It can print on paper of any size and prints documents sent from mobile phones. It's the kind of invention that you can't believe wasn't created sooner. Three thousand Kickstarter backers seemed to share that sentiment. They funded the product with more than $500,000 of pre-orders and donations. Now that the Zuta is in production, the printers are selling quickly. The second production batch, released in October, sold out before the end of the month. The next Zutas go on sale in January.