Nine Israeli startups became unicorns in the first three months of 2021, compared to 15 in all of 2020 and 12 in 2019. This has placed Israel at the center of global attention.
A unicorn is a startup that is still a privately held company that has already reached a billion dollar plus valuation. The valuation of a startup, which is a new company that has neither yet held an IPO, gone public as they say, nor has been bought out by another company, is determined by the startup’s total funding to date against a percentage of ownership in the firm. So if someone is willing to pay $100 million for say a 10% stake in a startup them that means that said startup is worth $1 billion. While this may only be a valuation for a startup on paper, as any economist will tell you, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
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In July, Fireblocks, an Israeli fintech startup that specializes in cybersecurity, hit unicorn status with its latest fundraise, coming in at a $2.2 billion valuation. Fireblocks raised $310 million in a Series D round. In June, Exabeam, an Israeli security analytics and automation company hit unicorn status with a $2.4 billion valuation. The coveted status of unicorn came when Exbeam raised $200 million in a Series F growth round.
And the list goes on…
So many unicorns in Israel these days, they may need to rename it Unicorn Nation. And with so many multi-billion valuated startups, they should come up with a new classification. How about Pegasus or Klingon.
Startup Nation has now grown up a bit, offering a support ecosystem from both within and without.
Wired UK has selected the ten hottest startups in Tel Aviv. Here a just a few of them.
Founded in 2018 by CEO Tamir Wolf and Dotan Asselmann, Theator is pioneering the Surgical Intelligence revolution. The company boasts that its technology is the next generation of AI in surgery – built by surgeons for surgeons, and designed to raise their expertise to the highest possible level.
The medtech company says that their goal is not just better surgery, but to create a whole new experience of AI in surgery. A next-generation OR, with real-time surgical decision support and AI-driven robotic procedures – all powered by surgical intelligence.
“Together, we are using real-world scientific data to develop advanced AI capabilities that will fuel more consistently successful surgeries, and ultimately, a healthier world. This is the Surgical intelligence revolution.”
Founded by Yael Alter and Nashat Haj Mohammad in 2017, Soos Tech is a chicken fertilization tech firm. SOOS developed an incubation system that affects the sex development process in poultry embryo and turn genetic males into functional female chicks. Their system operates an incubation protocol that controls a combination of; Temperature, Humidity, CO2 levels and Sound Vibration.
Every year, commercial hatcheries around the world produce 15 billion chicks: 7.5 billion are females that can lay eggs, and 7.5 billion are males that have no commercial use and are therefore exterminated after they hatch. This practice involves major animal suffering and abuse, and a huge waste of energy, water, incubation space, and production capacity that could be used to ensure better nutritional security globally.
Soos hopes to solve this problem.
VAST Data states that its mission is to bring an end to decades of complexity and application bottlenecks. VAST combines a series of innovations to “radically change the flash cost vs. capacity equation, democratizing the utility of flash for all data and all applications.” The company boasts that the result is no more slow and failure-prone hard drives, no more complex storage tiers. What’s left is nothing but a dramatically simplified and universal storage experience where applications benefit from being able to store and access all of their data in real time.
Melio is one of those recently minted Israeli unicorns mentioned above. In January Israeli fintech company Melio hit unicorn status with a $1.3 billion valuation. It hit the mark by raising $110 million in a Round B. The company grew by 2,000% in one year.
Melio provides a single, integrated tool that allows small businesses to transfer and receive payments in a faster, easier way; giving oversight and control over cash flow, reducing or eliminating late payment costs, and giving businesses back valuable time.
Since Melio’s monthly active users grew by over 2,000% due to coronavirus lockdowns, small businesses are increasingly adopting digital solutions for payments.
Also on Wired’s list are Empathy, which offers a platform that helps families navigate the journey they face after losing a loved one and Amai Proteins, a startup that uses a computational design and fermentation to develop zero-calorie “designer proteins” that are cheaper, healthier and thousands of times sweeter than sugar.
Also mentioned is Papaya Global, another recent unicorn. The Israeli startup which offers a cloud based platform for companies to handle their payrolls reached a billion dollar plus valuation in March.
Founded in 2016, Papaya Global says that it is reinventing global payroll, payments, and workforce management. The company declares that its automated platform helps companies hire, onboard, manage, and pay people in more than 140 countries. The cloud-based solution is “easy to use and scale ensures full compliance and provides industry-leading BI and analytics.”