Israel is the largest foreign presence on Wall Street following China and Canada. Some 70 Israeli companies are currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with many technology firms listed on NASDAQ.
“The level of Israeli equities listed on Wall Street is yet another example of Israeli innovation and the strong US-Israel relationship,” Daniella Rilov, executive director of the America-Israel Friendship League, said during a New York Stock Exchange event dedicated to Israel last month.
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Until recently, Israeli companies were often criticized for their eagerness to “sell out” quickly in pursuit of an early “exit,” instead of offering their shares to the public. But in recent years, Israel has seen dozens of its companies going public in Tel Aviv, London, New York and elsewhere in the world.
From web design to driverless cars, here are five of the coolest Israeli companies on Wall Street:
Making driving safer and potentially saving lives, Israeli company Mobileye (NYSE: MBLY) develops driver assistance technology to prevent accidents, but is also one of the major developers of autonomous car technologies. Its systems use video cameras and advanced algorithms to identify and respond to other vehicles, bends in the road, pedestrians and traffic signs, providing advanced warning for drivers and thereby preventing car accidents.
Most recently, Mobileye announced it will collaborate with car maker BMW and technology giant Intel to manufacture a driverless car by 2021.
Founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua, the Hebrew University professor who developed the technology, Mobileye raised nearly $1 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, the largest-ever Israeli IPO. With a market cap of $8.5 billion, shares of Mobileye now trade for $39.
The brainchild of Dr. Amit Goffer, revolutionary exoskeleton ReWalk (NASDAQ: RWLK) enables paraplegics to walk and climb stairs.
For individuals with spinal cord injuries, standing and walking around freely remains a dream. But using the exoskeleton walking device ReWalk, wheelchair-bound individuals are now able to move freely.
At the forefront of medical technology, ReWalk’s exoskeleton is powered by a computer and motion sensors that work together to mimic natural gait. The innovative system corrects itself to pick up slight changes in the user’s center of gravity; it can be adjusted to a functional walking speed; and even enables users to climb and descend staircases.
In 2012, one woman completed the 2012 London Marathon in 17 days using ReWalk. And, in 2015, the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will provide ReWalk exoskeletons for eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries.
Founded by Goffer in 2001, ReWalk could soon make wheelchairs obsolete.
Founded in 1987 by Israel’s Kibbutz Sdot Yam, Caesarstone (NASDAQ: CSTE) designs, engineers and manufactures stone surfaces. In recent years, it has become successful in the US luxury residential market, making Sdot Yam one of the richest kibbutzim in Israel.
In 2014, this kibbutz (a collective community traditionally based on agriculture) sold the majority stake of its Caesarstone’s shares to the public for $260 million, a hefty amount for its 400 members, who are now wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.
With a market cap of over $1 billion, Caesarstone’s shares now trade for $29. The company has several manufacturing facilities in Israel and in the US.
Caesarstone pioneered the quartz surfaces, which consist of up to 93 percent quartz (a mineral found in nature). According to the company, this type of surface retains “the cool tactile qualities of nature’s strong stones, while offering freedom of design with enormous application possibilities, including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, flooring, wall paneling, furniture and more.”
While Caesarstone’s products are highly functional, their stunning designs have become widely popular among upscale interior designers around the world.
Until recently, creating a website was a skillful task reserved for professional designers and web masters. But since Israeli company Wix launched its do-it-yourself platform a couple of years ago, anybody can create and publish their own websites, with easy-to-use, drag-and-drop tools and stunning templates.
Since the basic design (and domain name) package is free, 94 million small businesses (including hotels and restaurants) and individuals around the world are using Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) to build and maintain their web and mobile sites. With a market cap of $2.2 billion, Wix’s shares trade for $51 on NASDAQ.
The company was founded in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan on the belief that the internet should be accessible to everyone to develop, create and contribute. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, with additional offices across Israel, Europe and the US.
Mazor Robotics’ guidance systems enable surgeons to conduct spine and brain procedures in a precise manner.
Founded in 2001, the company’s intuitive interface helps surgeons plan operations in a virtual 3D environment, creating a surgical blueprint for better accuracy.
The story of Mazor Robotics (NASDAQ: MZOR) began at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The company was officially founded by Prof. Moshe Shoham and Eli Zehavi, but the work had begun years earlier with Shoham, the head of the Robotics Laboratory at the Technion, conducting research to develop a new and innovative platform for surgery.
Photos and videos: Rafael Matsunaga, Wix, ReWalk, Mobileye, Caesarstone