The Next Waze or Mobileye? Israeli Startups That Might Conquer the World This Year

Nearly 12% of the companies on Gartner’s Cool Vendors list are Israeli, putting the blue and white in second place behind the United States

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Cymulate founders Avihai Ben-Yossef, left, and Eyal Wachsman.
Cymulate founders Avihai Ben-Yossef, left, and Eyal Wachsman.
Amitai Ziv
Amitai Ziv

Among the many lists of “promising” and “groundbreaking” startups, the Gartner consulting firm’s Cool Vendors slate stands out in its quality. In recent years, the Connecticut-based firm anticipated the success of many companies like Waze and Mobileye that got sold later on.

Every year the list includes lots of Israeli startups; in fact, Israel is in second place. Out of 269 firms this year, 133 are from the United States and 31 from Israel; that’s nearly 12%. Twenty hail from Britain, 10 each from Canada and China, eight from Germany and a few from a number of countries.

This year Gartner decided to expand its coverage and publish two lists, so another Cool Vendors roster is due out toward the end of the year.

Shlomit Harth, the chief executive of Gartner Israel, says the “cool” companies are often less well-known and the maximum for making the list is less than $100 million in annual revenues.

“In Cool Vendors we’re looking for innovation, either in technology or in innovative business models. We’re looking for a new angle for the market,” Harth said.

“The size of the company and how much money it has raised aren’t definitive parameters. This is a selection process that takes time, and afterward we verify the choice with a meeting or conversation with the company.”

Shlomit Harth, the chief executive of Gartner Israel.Credit: Courtesy

The Cool Vendors list has companies in both the seed stage and much later phases.

Gartner's Cool Vendors – the full list

So which Israeli companies are on board? Unsurprisingly, cybersecurity firms have an impressive presence: 13 out of 31, including Cymulate, whose software lets organizations simulate cyberattacks and learn from the process.

Unbotify is another interesting company on the team. The young firm, which has only raised $2 million so far, develops technology to identify and block bots – robots on the web. Bots can be used to perform all sorts of fraud, even copying entire websites and putting up imposter sites to steal traffic or information.

Also on the list is Siga, which specializes in guarding critical infrastructure. It identifies anomalies in the flow of electricity, which can often signal a cyberattack. The company has raised $3.5 million.

Karamba Security provides automotive cybersecurity, an area with plenty of impressive exits recently. Meanwhile, D-ID specializes in privacy and the encryption of pictures of faces in government databases so they can’t be identified by facial-recognition algorithms.

Finally, there’s CyberWrite for the automated underwriting of insurance, analyzing the risks for every company and industry based on a large number of variables.

Namogoo isn’t really a cybersecurity company. On e-commerce sites it prevents the hijacking of customers’ sessions and blocks unauthorized ads.

A number of app companies on the list are well-known to Israelis. Moovit, which offers real-time public transit information, has a solid foundation after raising $131 million. Another app, Medisafe, reminds users when to take their medication and the proper dosage.

Two companies that entered the list this year in protective maintenance – identifying when machinery and products need maintenance – are Augury and 3DSignals. They can identify faults at an early stage based on a product’s sounds. The company Presenso can do similar things, but its efforts are based on artificial intelligence, not listening to machines.

Of course the self-driving-car industry has to be mentioned; Phantom Auto develops remote-control systems for when the human needs to take the wheel.

Syte’s services make it easier to find fashion items on sale using pictures from the web. It has a Chrome extension and a Facebook Messenger chatbot that can “speak” with the customer, who gets directed to the right store, or a similar one.

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