May 4, 2015
Israel continues to innovate, with the highest number of scientists and technology professionals per capita in the world making for a great ecosystem for Israeli startups. As contributor Molly Cutler shared in an earlier story on Tech.Co, “Much can be learned from Israel’s successful startups: Persistence is key, never be afraid to challenge the status quo or your authorities, be disruptive, and focus on solving real problems. But most of all, the focus should not be on the money — be excited by what your company is doing and concentrate on achieving something great.”
SaferVPN, founded by Amit Bareket and Sagi Gidali, launched a VPN-based startup that provides secured re-routed Internet access throughout the world. The company’s software allows users to circumvent local restrictions and access websites, while simultaneously allowing users to keep their personal information safe and encrypted for anonymous browsing.
“We’ve seen more and more online censorship in the past couple of years, with governments forcing severe restrictions on their citizens’ freedom. In the West we take it for granted that we can express ourselves on social media, publish videos on sites like YouTube, or write letters to newspaper editors for publication. That’s not really a choice if you’re living [under] some regimes,” said Gidali.
Some months ago, the company partnered with Advancing Human Rights, a global non-profit to launch ‘Unblock The Web‘, a crowdfunding campaign to fight internet censorship and give dissidents anti-censorship tools.
“It has become increasingly hard to stop the flow of information. People in the free world can play a key role in helping activists get information out to alert the world to their regime’s brutality,” said David Keyes, the Executive Director of Advancing Human Rights.
Funding: In March 2015, Safer VPN received approximately $500k from private individuals. The company has been generating revenue from day one, with a steadily growing user base.
“The money was raised a month ago and will be used to accelerate growth, user acquisition and unique projects that we plan,” said Sagi Giladi, CEO of the company.
Playbuzz was the second-most shared website on Facebook in September. In under two years, the social quiz company has reached over 50 million unique visitors per month. It’s one of the fastest growing websites in the US according to Alexa.
3. Consumer Physics
Consumer Physics is behind the handheld molecular scanner: “SCiO.” The futuristic device lets you scan materials or physical objects and instantly provides you information on their chemical make-up. The company raised over US$2.7 million in a hugely popular Kickstarter campaign.
Founded in 2012, Tel Aviv based Webydo is a code-free web design platform for freelance web designers and agencies. The company was founded on the premise that the web is increasingly turning into a creative medium. Until now, developers have enjoyed centre-stage, and Webydo is looking to change the tide by empowering individual designers to take control over the full creative process.
“Since the early days of web, it has all been about code creation. Our focus has been to develop a powerful code generator to help designers take control of the creative process,” said Shmulik Grizim, the CEO and co-founder of Webydo.
In contrast to other major players in the code-free website marketplace – such as Wix -, that court the DIY market, Webydo’s approach is strictly B2B.
Funding: In June 2014, Webydo closed a $7 million Series B funding round, bringing the total investment to $9.7 million. Now there are rumors circulating that suggest an additional investment is on its way from a high profile VC.
OrCam is developing a device that consists of a smart camera mounted on the frames of eyeglasses, which can see text, recognize objects, and whisper in your ear. The artificial vision company is helping blind people understand the world in a new way. The company recently raised a whopping US$15 million from Intel Capital.
Online measurement service SimilarWeb recently added mobile analytics and app engagement insights to their product. The company has offices in Tel Aviv, London, Dubai, and plans on opening one in NYC. They recently raised US$15 million from from Naspers and an angel investor.
Some call it SlideShare on steroids. Roojoom, based in Tel Aviv, is a content marketing intelligence platform that helps companies repurpose existing content to increase engagement and conversion. The company’s customizable cloud-based websites aim to help companies showcase their products and features effectively and in real-time. These websites can come in many forms, including as standard web pages, videos, images and PDFs.
“Having worked with clients such as Microsoft and eToro in addition to various banks and large CPGs, we estimate to triple our client base by the end of the year,” said Yael Kochman, a marketing manager at Roojoom.
Roomer is a peer-to-peer marketplace for non-refundable hotel rooms. The company lets users sell unwanted hotel rooms to avoid paying a cancellation fee. This massive market is a huge opportunity for this young startup. The company recently raised a series A worth US$5 million.
Tel Aviv based Yallo wants to reinvent the phone call. The company’s founding principle is based on the premise that much like Whatsapp and SnapChat change text messaging, the phone call hasn’t changed in decades.
“The idea is simply to turn the phone call into a rich platform that comes with everything,” said Yosi Taguri, Yallo’s CTO.
Yallo’s app automatically reconnects dropped calls, saves a call or shares it. Users can summon a group call with a single click or even interrupt a call when a priority caller needs you. For example, if your child is a priority caller, he or she will be able to interrupt your call. Whether this is a good thing, is up to the users themselves to decide.
Funding: Yallo closed $4 million in Series A funding in March 2015 and the investment was led by Carmel Ventures, a member of the Viola Group. In the coming months, Yallo will boost its marketing efforts to fully launch the product.
Honeybook provides professional event organizers with the modern tools they need. The invite-only platform claims 100 percent customer retention. The company raised a US$10 million series A in September.
Image Credit: Tel Aviv Beach on Flickr/Rob
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