Fifty thousand readers of Geektime’s Hebrew site voted on the best startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the country. In addition, a panel of 21 expert judges from the industry had their vote. Tensions were high as we revealed the winners in sixteen categories
You’ve heard of the Academy Awards and the Crunchies. In Israel, the startup community’s big night is called the Geek Awards, sponsored by Geektime.
Click here for some photos from the gala event.
Fifty thousand readers of Geektime’s Hebrew site voted on the best startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the country. In addition, a panel of 21 expert judges from the industry had their vote. Tensions were high as we revealed the winners in sixteen categories.
Best Israeli startup for 2014
And the winner is: Moovit
Founded in 2012 in Israel by Nir Erez, Roy Bick, and Yaron Evron, the company was originally known as Tranzmate Ltd. Uri Levine, Founder and President of Waze, is a board member. Moovit uses the geolocation of public transport riders as well as timetables and data from governments and bus companies to help riders navigate their bus and train systems.
Best venture capital fund in Israel for 2012
- Carmel Ventures
- Sequoia Israel
- Magma Venture Partners
And the winner is: Sequoia Israel
Sequoia Capital specializes in pre-seed and seed startups in the fintech, medical, Internet and outsourcing fields. Founded in 1998, it is considered by many to be the most successful venture capital firm in Israel. Their investments include Interlude, Innovid and Taykey.
Israel’s top accelerator for 2014
- Zell Entrepreneurship Program @IDC
- UpWest Labs
- Microsoft Ventures Accelerator
And the winner is: Microsoft Ventures Accelerator
Microsoft’s program is for startups in their early funding stages with a focus on companies developing software-focused solutions. The program is 4 months long. During that time the companies use office space at Microsoft Israel’s headquarters in Herzliya. They have access to all of Microsoft’s products as well as its Azure cloud platform and other services. They also receive assistance from over 100 mentors who are industry leaders. The accelerator also gives startups exposure to the international market through introductions to potential customers and strategic partners. Microsoft doesn’t invest directly in companies nor does it take a percentage of equity, but it does arrange meetings between entrepreneurs and potential investors.
Best Israeli enterprise startup for 2014
- Applause – uTest
And the winner is: CyberArk
Security solutions for organizations. One of their flagship products is privileged identity management. Threats from outside and threats from within. The company filed an IPO in September 2014, its valuation is 881.4 million.
CyberArk is an information security company focused on privileged account security, tackling threats from the outside as well as threats from inside a company. The company’s technology is deployed in the financial services, energy, retail and healthcare industries. It has nearly 1,600 customers, including over 30 of the Fortune 100. It issued an IPO on the NASDAQ in September 2014.
In June of 2014, CyberArk filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an IPO, listing revenues of $66.2 million for 2013. In September of 2014, CyberArk became a public company, trading on the NASDAQ under the ticker CYBR.
The company has offices in the US, Israel, UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Singapore, and local sales presence in more than 20 countries.
Top Israeli female entrepreneur
- Lital Helman (GradTrain)
- Orit Hashay (Brayola)
- Liat Mordechay Hertanu (24Me)
- Michal Tsur Shalev (Kaltura)
- Iris Shoor (Takipi)
The winner is: Dr. Michal Tsur Shalev (Kaltura)
Michal Tsur founded the online security firm Cyota and sold it for $145 million in 2005. She then founded Kaltura, an open source video platform whose customers include Warner Brothers and HBO.
Best Israeli Internet startup 2014
And the winner is: Outbrain
Outbrain’s content discovery platform uses AI algorithms to try and intuit content that users weren’t necessarily actively searching for while browsing a site, but would be very happy to have ‘discovered’ anyhow.
As a business model, Outbrain essentially functions as a 3-way marketplace for content consumers, content publishers and media buyers, with their two products – Outbrain Engage and Outbrain Amplify – facilitating relevant engagement and leveraging between all three parties. According to reports, the company has confidentially filed an IPO with the NASDAQ at a valuation of $1 billion.
Best Israeli FinTech startup:
And the winner is: FeeX
FeeX has given itself the catchy moniker “the Robin Hood of fees.” Most consumers are overpaying when it comes to banking fees and hidden charges in cell phone plans, gym memberships to your 401(k) pension plan.
Feex swept the Geek Awards last year and 2014 was another banner year.
The company was founded in 2012 by Waze cofounder Uri Levine as well as Eyal Halahmi, Uri Levine, David Weisz, Yoav Zurel. The latter three co-founders were students at the IDC-Herzliya at the time, enrolled in its Zell Entreneurship startup accelerator.
Best Israeli mobile startup for 2014
And the winner is: Moovit
Moovit was the big winner at last night’s awards. Did the co-founders ride the bus home after the ceremony? “The 37 bus,” CEO Nir Erez told Geektime, “has stopped running, so we have to drive.” However, they said, the company encourages its 60 employees to take public transportation as much as possible and even provides shuttle buses for them.
Best Israeli data security startup
And the winner is: Forter
Forter helps online retailers prevent fraud. It allows e-commerce sites to get a simple approve/decline answer for every transaction in real time. If there is a charge back, Forter delivers full merchant protection.
Best Israeli hardware startup
- Zuta Labs
And the winner is: Storedot
StoreDot made the headlines last year when it showcased a technology that can charge electronic devices in less than a minute. This could potentially disrupt the cell phone battery market. The company also plans to focus on flash memory, image sensors and may even have applications in the semiconductor materials industry.
Best new Israeli startup
- Air – Yevvo
And the winner is: PlayBuzz
PlayBuzz’s platform allows thousands of content sites all over the world to create quizzes, surveys, lists and other types of interactive content that can be integrated into any website or mobile app. Just a half year after their launch, the Israeli company announced it had reached 40 million unique users per month. The company was founded in 2012 by Shaul Olmert and Tom Pachys.
Best exit of 2014
- Mobileye IPO
- Viber – Acquired by Rakuten
- Cyberark IPO
- MobileSpaces – Acquired by Pulse Secture
- Check – Acquired by Intuit
And the winner is: Mobileye
Mobileye’s (MBLY) IPO began at $25 per share on the NASDAQ. On the first day of trading it surged to $37 per share, giving the company a valuation of $7.85 billion. The company develops vision-based advanced driver assistance systems that help prevent and mitigate collisions.
Best Israeli male entrepreneur for 2014
- Yaron Galai – Outbrain
- Ron Yekutiel – Katura
- Moshe Hogeg –Mobileye
- Uri Levine – FeeX
- Adam Singolda – Taboola
And the winner is: Adam Singolda
Adam Singolda founded Taboola in 2007. The idea was to bring content to readers, instead of having them search for it. Now in his mid-30’s, his company is valuated at over $1 billion. Taboola is a content recommendation platform that recommends video and other content to over 550 million unique visitors per month.
Top Israeli investor for 2014
- Gigi Levy
- Guy Gamzu
- Eden Shochat – Aleph
- Zohar Gilon
- Shmil Levy — Sequoia Israel
And the winner is: Eden Schochat – Aleph
Eden Shochat is a serial entrepreneur and seasoned, experienced investor. He was one of the founders of Face.com, the face recognition software company that was sold to Facebook in 2012 for $60 million. He was also a partner in the Genesis Fund, which led the investments in startups like Omer Perchik’s Any.DO, Aviv Revach’s Commerce Sciences as well as JoyTunez, which raised $1.5 million last May. In July 2013, he and Michael Eisenberg announced a new $140 million venture capital fund, Aleph, which would focus on series A funding of startups in software and big data, with a goal of 15-20 portfoilio companies at an average $2.5 million investment.
Top Israeli female investor for 2014
- Shelly Hod Moyal and Mor Assia, iAngels
- Tilly Kalisky, Greylock Partners
- Anat Segal –Xenia Venture Capital
- Rona Segev-Gal, Pitango
And the winner is: Rona Segev-Gal
Rona Segev-Gal is considered to be one of the leading venture capital investors in Israel. For the last ten years she has been a General Partner with Pitango Venture Capital and before that she was a general partner at Evergreen Ventures. Her specialty is startups that develop organizational software. Some of her noteworthy exits are Varonis, TRAIANA, WorkLight, Fring, identify, Actona, ItemField, ADUVA.
Best social and communal contribution:
- Izhar Shay – Startup Stadium
- Eden Schochat
- Hilla Ovil-Brenner
- Campus for Moms
- Chemi Peres
And the winner is: Campus for Moms
Campus for Moms, sponsored by Google and the Yazamiot NGO, is the first school that is baby-friendly. It’s first branch was opened in Tel Aviv. It allows mothers to meet with entrepreneurs and to develop and nurture their entrepreneurial ideas, babies in tow.