5 Israeli Startups Making Waves
The startup nation shows no signs of slowing down, generating some 1,400 new startups each year with soaring valuations and a healthy growing economy to back them. However, as the list of startups grows, it can be difficult to find those that are truly accomplishing something unique.
Here are 5 startups that stand out from the rest:
If you haven’t heard of Habana Labs, you should crawl out from under that rock. Recently acquired by Intel in a deal valued at $2 billion, Habana is the brainchild of David Dahan and Ran Halutz, tech industry veterans bringing a combined 36 years of experience. Where many companies have put a lot of focus on developing software to drive deep-learning and other AI technologies, Habana has developed specialized processors to actually run the software at higher speeds and with greater efficiency than a traditional GPU (graphics processing unit).
Habana’s Gaudi AI training processor is supposedly capable of beating current GPUs by a factor of 4. What this means is smaller, less power-hungry AI that can do more. In an age where the data-center has long overtaken home users as the dominant chipset consumer, such technology has the potential to bring a lot of value to Intel’s offerings in the long run.
“This acquisition advances our AI strategy, which is to provide customers with solutions to fit every performance need – from the intelligent edge to the data center,” said Intel EVP Navin Shenoy in a press release about the acquisition, “More specifically, Habana turbo-charges our AI offerings for the data center with a high-performance training processor family and a standards-based programming environment to address evolving AI workloads.”
Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Riskified is at its core a SaaS (software as a service) company focusing on fraud and chargeback prevention technology. With customers including Aldo, AirEuropa, PRADA, and Wish.com, Riskified has differentiated its offering from competitors through continuing innovation.
Using behavioral analysis, elastic lining, proxy detection, and machine learning, Riskified improves the accuracy of fraud detection, allowing companies to raise approval rates without increasing the risk of fraud. When a declined card can mean permanently losing a customer, and with scammers using ever more complex methods to commit fraud, services like those offered by Riskified become increasingly necessary.
Billed as an all-in-one solution to E-commerce cybersecurity, Riskified additionally handles user authentication and account protection, offering extra protection against data breaches.
Investors certainly seem to see the value: as of 2018 Riskified has secured more than $60 million in funding and grown to over 300 employees. With worldwide cybersecurity spending on track to exceed $133 billion in 2022, companies like Riskified seem well poised to safely take us into this increasingly digital age.
Founded in 2011 by Tomer Tagarin and Omri Cohen, Yotpo develops an all-in-one website marketing platform. Integrating user testimonials, rewards programs, and other visual user content, Yotpo aims to improve the customer experience and increase engagement. Currently its biggest customers are GoPro, Everlest, and Esurance.
In 2018, after doubling its total funding to over $100 million, Yotpo announced that it would be acquiring the American company Swell Rewards. Swell Rewards, which was acquired for $16 million, had developed a customer loyalty platform which used a points system to reward customers. Yotpo CEO and co-founder Tomer Tagarin clarified that the move was based on customer feedback requesting a point based loyalty system that would synergize with Yotpo’s current suite.
"When we started to talk to more and more customers, they told us that it would help them if we connected our surfer content platforms to a loyalty and referrals platform, a customer loyalty club platform like that of Swell Rewards," said Tomer to Globes Business News, "Many of our customers have realized that in order to succeed they had to ensure that their customers would return again and again, and so they want a customer loyalty club that rewards returning customers or customers who refer their friends to them."
With over 300 employees at its Tel Aviv offices, Yotpo remains a sizeable Israeli startup with lots of growth potential.
Founded in 2013 by Aaron Hakim and Jonathan Friedman, Reactful is an AI powered real-time website optimization platform. By tracking users’ actions in real time, Reactful’s algorithm predicts the user’s intent, essentially reading their “digital body language”. The website owner can leverage this information to customize the site experience per-customer and increase site engagement and conversion metrics.
Sold as a SaaS, Reactful is already used by the likes of Kimberly Clark and Coca Cola. Running with a small team broken into both Tel Aviv and Palo Alto, Reactful is focused on the US market, with the sort of snazzy dynamic website more typical of American companies than the usual sterile-but-functional Israeli fare.
Reactful formalized a technological partnership with fellow startup 6sense back in March. “With 6sense’s powerful data, Reactful AI is supercharging website personalization to drive overall engagement and conversion,” said Leifur Thordarson, Reactful President and CEO, as quoted on the company blog, “Through this partnership, organizations can truly engage their customers and achieve the results they desire – without additional development or resources required.”
Israeli startup Sight Diagnostics has delivered several innovations in the blood testing industry over the last several years. In 2014, Sight released its Parasight platform, which can detect Malaria in a blood sample in just minutes, whereas a lab result can take up to two days. Afterwards, Sight moved on to the CBC, the most common blood test in the world, launching a device called the OLO in Europe. The OLO requires just two drops of blood and delivers results in minutes.
So, is Sight really an Israeli startup not involved in the tech industry?
Not exactly. The secret to the blood testing systems’ speed and accuracy lies in computer vision algorithms that scan and analyze the blood. These algorithms are fast, efficient, and most importantly, proven in clinical trials.
“The ability to create rich digital images of blood samples and analyze them in minutes has enormous potential to improve diagnostics and patient care,” said Sight CTO Sarah Levy earlier this year in a public statement. It seems the investors agree: the company has raised over $27 million dollars this year alone.
In November, the FDA approved the OLO’s use in hospital labs, diagnostic providers, and outpatient clinics. With a multi-billion-dollar industry to disrupt, Sight Diagnostics seems on the verge of something huge.