What’s With Israel Sprouting Up Unicorns? We Can Explain.

What’s With Israel Sprouting Up Unicorns? We Can Explain.

When you think of Israel, many images come to mind, usually of the biblical or political kind. But more and more Israeli-tech too is changing what Israel symbolizes. No more so (arguably) is the much coveted unicorn designation among tech startup companies. And you’re right if you’re thinking that Israel is not about to jump on the woo-woo bandwagon of mythical beings.

UNICORN is the designation of tech startups who are valued at $1Billion or more. And currently, Israel has a bunch of them. Well, more like a dozen and a half!


The remainder of the article was originally reported by NoCamels.com


Unicorns have been the stuff of legends for centuries. Many tales have been inspired by these mythical creatures, usually depicted as a white horse with a long horn extending from the forehead. But in the tech world, “unicorns” are real and there are over 200 companies around the world who have made the list as of 2017, according to research form CB insights.

In tech parlance, unicorns are privately-held startups valued at $1 billion and above. The term was first coined in 2013 by US venture capitalist Aileen Lee in an article titled “Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning From Billion-Dollar Startups” and has since taken off.

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Israel, a small nation with nearly 6,000 active startups and companies and a world leader in tech, can claim 18 unicorns, according to an overview of the high-tech industry compiled by Israeli entrepreneur Yaron Samid, the founder of TechAviv, an invitation-only global Israeli startup founders club which currently boasts some 3,000 members.

The list was criticized for including companies with only loose connections to Israel and those without a presence in the country. But Samid, a serial entrepreneur with three exits under his belt – BillGuard, Pando Networks (acquired by Microsoft) and DeskSite – and the founder of angel investment firm Novadea, stands by the round-up, telling NoCamels that the purpose was to “show Israel’s transformation from a ‘start-up nation’ to a ‘growth nation,’ or ‘scale-up nation.’”

“If the list contained only companies headquartered in Israel, it would be a very short list. That would undermine the growth of industry in Israel I am trying to portray. And as a founders’ club, TechAviv also focuses more on founders rather than headquarter locations,” he says.

Samid’s list contains a caveat that reads: “This is not a list of ‘Israeli startups,’ it’s a list of private technology companies founded by Israelis…The goal of this list is to provide some perspective on the massive impact Israeli founders are having on the global innovation economy.”

Despite the flack, Samid tells NoCamels that his criteria for next year’s Israeli unicorns list will not change.

In addition to the unicorns, Samid also counted 26 Israeli “charging ponies,” startups and companies with a valuation of over $500 million as of June 2018. He says that he expects “the top half of the list to make unicorn list in 2019, if not by the end of this year.”

Below are the 17 firms among the unicorns list. Valuations are based on public and private sources, and are estimates, not exact numbers.

  1. WeWork: $20 billion
  2. Magic Leap: $5 billion
  3. Tanium: $5 billion
  4. Houzz: $4 billion
  5. Compass: $2.2 billion
  6. Elastic: $2 billion
  7. Infinidat: $1.6 billion
  8. ironSource: $1.5 billion
  9. Gett: $1.4 billion
  10. eToro: $1 billion
  11. OrCam: $1 billion
  12. Gusto: $1 billion
  13. Outbrain: $1 billion
  14. Taboola: $1 billion
  15. Fiverr: $1 billion
  16. Lemonade: $1 billion
  17. VIA: $1 billion

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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