Out of 350 companies selected by leading American IT research firm Gartner as “Cool Vendors” in 2015, 18 of the industry-defining companies are Israeli. Historically, Gartner’s list has been a prediction of the future success stories of some of the industry’s most promising startup companies, like Israeli mobile navigation app Waze that sold to Google for $1.3 billion two years ago.
This year, the Israeli companies that made the cut are producing novel technologies, mainly in the Internet of Things (IoT) space. These technologies could potentially be used in every IoT product, from a wearable band that will tell you where the lines are shorter in amusement parks, to a robot that partakes in your surgery, a drone that will deliver your pizza, or a mobile app that tracks your exercise routine.
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“We have identified the cool, innovative startup companies that currently operate in Israel,” Gartner’s Chief Researcher Daryl Plummer said at a briefing yesterday in Herzlyia. Plummer flew into Israel especially to recognize the ‘coolest’ Israeli startups of the 350 companies globally selected this year.
What does it take to be ‘cool’?
At the conference, entitled “What does it take to be cool? The next innovation frontier,” Plummer – who’s considered a “cloud computing guru” – stressed that Gartner “doesn’t pick companies in stealth mode,” but rather startups that are already marketing their solutions. On the other hand, giants such as IBM cannot be on the Cool Vendor list because they’re well established. “A cool vendor deals with the up-and-coming trends that will drive our world in the next 10 years,” Plummer explained.
18 Israeli companies were recognized yesterday as Cool Vendors; NoCamels profiles five of the coolest.
Video-messaging startup Glide Talk allows users to send video messages over the cloud, so that the videos they record, send and receive don’t take up space on their device. The company’s popular live video messenger has attracted more than 15 million users since its launch for smartphones.
Glide recently closed a $20 million investment round, bringing total investment in the company to $28.5 million. Following the funding round, the company has reached a $100 million valuation.
Managed by Chief Executive Ari Roisman, the company has tailored its technology for use in smartwatches, namely the Apple Watch. So now, its novel, cloud-based video streaming technology also enables quality videos to be sent and received instantly – straight to your wrist. Glide was founded by Roisman, Jonathan Caras and Adam Korbl in 2012 and is based in Jerusalem.
The latest example of how Gartner has been able to forecast promising startups is CyActive, which was acquired by PayPal for $60 million in March, shortly after the Cool Vendors list had shaped up, according to Plummer. CyActive’s claim to fame is its ability to offer proactive detection of future malware before it has ever seen the light of day, using a unique cybersecurity algorithm based on biology. Based in Beer Sheva, the company was founded in 2003 by CEO Liran Tancman and CTO Shlomi Boutnaru.
Wibbitz has developed a technology that can automatically turn any text article into a short video. Founded by Zohar Dayan, a graduate of the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Wibbitz is supported by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing’s venture capital firm Horizons Ventures. The company has raised $2.4 million since its inception in 2012.
ICS² (or ICS2/ICS squared) is one of the first cyber-security companies focusing on protecting the control systems of power, oil, gas and petrochemical plants. Founded in 2013 by Gil Kroyzer, the company provides a technology that learns the normal behavior of an industrial process. Deviations are reported for immediate response and analysis.
“Companies like Israeli ICS² are training machines to recognize patterns humans cannot possibly recognize,” Plummer said. “Machines don’t lie, you have to believe them.” He further commented that machines and robots will take over the world – “it’s not science fiction.” Plummer actually supports this trend, which includes self-driving cars. “I worry more about human drivers; they’re involved in more accidents”.
Telesofia Medical is one of the ‘youngest’ startups to enter the list, having raised a scant $1 million since it was founded in 2013 by a team of medical doctors and internet experts. Led by CEO Dr. Rami Cohen, Telesofia allows healthcare providers to automatically generate personalized educational videos for patients. The videos are tailored to the specific patient and are available on smart devices without requiring its users to download an external application.
Other Israeli Cool Vendors this year include: Xpolog, Infinidat, Applitools, CyberX, Illusive Networks, Nativeflow, Safe-T, OpenLegacy, Own Backup, Particular Software, Startoscale, ThetaRay and TrapX Security.