According to the user-generated content on Mapped in Israel, a geo-based directory of Israeli tech companies, there are over 1,200 startups currently in operation in the Startup Nation. To put this figure in perspective, Israel has over twice the number of startups currently operating in New Jersey, a territory that's actually somewhat larger than Israel.
To give you a sense of some specific Israeli innovations currently experiencing major growth, I've compiled this list of 15 startups that are doing big things around the world and/or have made especially significant accomplishments in 2014.
An emerging player in the e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail industry, Wiser crawls the world's pricing databases to provide pricing intelligence and dynamic pricing tools. The app helps brands adjust their listings based on external factors such as demand and competitor pricing, as well as internal factors like supply and sales goals.
As cyber-thievery and other forms of malicious hacking grow in proliferation and sophistication, cloud security firms have been forced to up their game considerably. Industry-leading outfit Incapsula boosts website performance and thwarts attacks with advanced networking, dynamic caching, Web application firewalls, and content optimization techniques.
A local tech investment fund, Valueshine provides its portfolio of elite startups with technical expertise in addition to financial stability. Specializing in crowdsourcing, digital media, and e-commerce, Valueshine's current flagship property is Chekkt, a rating and discovery portal for "Software as a Service," or SaaS, tools.
One of the primary challenges of websites that don't sell products is figuring out how to monetize great content. Another is finding great photos to use as illustrations. Imonomy helps publishers by offering libraries of high-quality stock images and augmenting the user experience with contextually relevant mouseover ads.
A content curation service, Roojoom allows users to repackage and embed others' publications as Web-based presentations. The platform connects pieces of content together into a storyboard-like sequence, so that the reader is led through the content in a focused manner, never leaving the curator's own published page.
Mapped in Israel
A startup for startups, Mapped in Israel provides free and easy access to data and reviews about the Israeli high-tech ecosystem. The site is used for industry research, job searches, and finding investment opportunities. In recent months, Mapped's wunderkind founder, Ben Lang, completed his military service and officially joined the private sector, spinning his proprietary platform off as a scalable beta product called Mapme.
Another monetization service, Taboola is a sophisticated native recommendation engine that serves up those sponsored "related content" links you see at the bottom of article pages on major websites like The Huffington Post and BBC.com. This summer, Taboola acquired Californian programmatic ad company Perfect Market, expanding its capabilities.
Conversion rate optimization tools are a dime a dozen nowadays, which is why TrenDemon's take on mapping and managing the customer's digital journey is so refreshing. After online merchants place TrenDemon's code on their pages, the app starts tracking users' browsing patterns, providing publishers with insights into top performing acquisition channels and empowering them to engage with site visitors via optimized offers in real time.
The sports replay scene has been disrupted by Replay Technologies' freeD video product, which combines views from dozens of 5k ultra HD cameras to create 360-degree, Matrix-like views of each play. This past spring, Replay received a $9 million investment from Guggenheim Partners, and last month, the company closed a deal with the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise to provide replays at the American Airlines Center arena.
Under the leadership of CEO Shaul Olmert, the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, PlayBuzz is a rising publishing platform that allows community members and brands to easily build and embed listicles, quizzes, and other forms of what the company calls "playful content." Currently nearing just one year since its launch, PlayBuzz appeared No. 10 on Newswhip's index of the most shared Facebook publishers in June and now sits solidly at No. 2.
This innovative company uses nano-biology to transform two big industries: mobile phones and electric cars. The main problem with devices that run on batteries is that they are always running out of juice at the most critical times. StoreDot uses bio-organic peptide molecules to create batteries that recharge in a matter of minutes and retain their power many times longer than anything currently available. Having received $42 million in funding this year, the company's leadership is focusing on bringing their products to market by early 2017.
Consumers are sick of the lack of control they have over their bills, an issue that the Billguard app addresses extremely effectively with crowdsourcing. Billguard tracks bank and credit card activity, cross-referencing all charges with those flagged by community members as being questionably legit. This year, they received a third round of funding, rolled out an Android version, added alerts when known data breaches affect specific users, and partnered with leading credit services firm Experian to offer identity theft insurance policies.
Having recently closed a $15 million funding round, this competitive intelligence tool is primed to become a go-to for digital marketers. With SimilarWeb's insights platform, marketers can see traffic, category rankings, audience interests, stickiness patterns, and referral source metrics for any site on the Web. The product continues to improve, with a new module covering app market activity and a constantly evolving series of API-powered satellite products.
Among the top e-commerce content management systems, the open-source Magento platform has the largest market share, which means more independent internet retail properties are powered by Magento than any other service. However, with all of the third-party tools involved with maintaining an e-commerce site, Magento users commonly run into bugs and other UX roadblocks, often without even knowing that there is a problem at all. That's where Shoppimon, a free shopping experience monitoring tool, comes into play. Shoppimon's bots crawl entire Magento stores in five-minute intervals, running processes and checking for snafus. Merchants can even receive issue alerts via SMS.
A rising star in the race for social media dashboard preeminence, Oktopost
is a far more robust product than Buffer or HootSuite. All three of these platforms allow community managers to schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, but only Oktopost enables ROI reporting via conversion tracking. Additional differentiators include Oktopost's advanced LinkedIn Groups engagement tools, integrations with selling platforms like Marketo and Salesforce, and its ability to bundle a series of posts into distinct campaigns.
A Big Year Ahead
Over the past several years, the Israeli startup ecosystem has been drawing more and more interest from all over the world and exporting more and more business triumphs. With 2015 nearly upon us, the startups listed above are great places to start for those seeking to track Silicon Wadi's success stories.