Here were the winners of Geektime’s Geek Awards 2017, the best of Israel’s startup scene
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Photo credit: Geektime

Photo credit: Geektime

Thousands of entrepreneurs, engineers, and investors voted in Geektime’s annual effort to recognize Israel’s most influential startup leaders

This year marks Geektime’s 5th annual Geek Awards, the Israeli startup ecosystem’s answer to the Crunchies.

Judges for the 2017 Geek Awards included Facebook Israel GM Adi Soffer Teeni, Alon Lifshitz (Blumberg Capital), Adam Benayoun (500 Startups), Aaron Godfrey (MyHeritage), Ayelet Noff (Blonde 2.0), Gabby Czertok (The Bridge by Coca-Cola), Eyal Niv (Pitango Venture Capital), Ariel Maislos (Stratoscale), Moran Nir (IDC Herzliya), Merav Weinryb (Qualcomm Ventures Israel), Irit Israeli Kahana (AfterDox), Oren Kaniel (AppsFlyer), Shaul Olmert (Playbuzz), Tal Morgenstern (Lightspeed Venture Partners), Tal Barnoach (Disruptive Technologies LP Fund), Guy Grimland (Intel), Yifat Oron (Leumitech), Yaniv Golan (Lool Ventures), Tzahi (Zack) Weisfeld (Microsoft Global Ventures), Tomer Tagrin (Yotpo), Ronen Baharav (Altshuler Shaham), Yanai Oron (Vertex Ventures), Lior Weizman (IBM), Zvika Orron (Carmel Ventures), and Oded Hermoni (Rhodium).

The awards ceremony would not have been possible without the contributions of our generous sponsors, which included IBM, Leumitech, Altshuler Shaham, Blonde 2.0, United Airlines, and KPMG.

After much fanfare, here were the chosen few that went home tonight with Geek Awards.

Female CEO of the Year

Nominees:

Orly Shoavi, SafeDK
Orit Hashay, Brayola
Maya Gura, MissBeez
Iris Shoor, Oribi
Liat Mordechay Hertanu, 24me

Winner: Maya Gura

Maya Gura. Photo credit: Facebook

Maya Gura. Photo credit: Facebook

Not only is Maya an inspiring woman entrepreneur, but her startup, MissBeez, also aims to help other women find business opportunities. Interestingly, the idea for the startup came from her work helping former sex workers.

Male CEO of the Year

Nominees:

Daniel Ramot, Via
Nir Erez, Moovit
Shaul Olmert, Playbuzz
Daniel Schreiber, Lemonade
Tomer Tagrin, Yotpo

Winner: Nir Erez

Nir Erez. Photo credit: Moovit

Nir Erez. Photo credit: Moovit

Nir Erez is not only one of Israel’s most successful entrepreneurs, but public transit app Moovit also had an incredible year, integrating with Uber in more than 22 countries.

Male CTO of the Year

Nominees:

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO, Outbrain
Lior Sion, CTO, Bringg
Yoav Landman, CTO, Jfrog
Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, CTO, ContinUse Biometrics
Meir Kleiner, VP R&D, Airobotics

Winner: Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO, Outbrain

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO, Outbrain. Photo credit: PR

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO, Outbrain. Photo credit: PR

Outbrain, one of the leading content discovery platforms in the world, raised $45 million this year.

Female CTO of the Year

Nominees:

Dvora Cohen, Webydo
Einat Orr, Similar Web
Hila Noga, Hello Heart
Anna Lifshits Agmon, Trailquest
Flair Bar, VP R&D, Zebra Medical Vision

Winner: Flair Bar, VP R&D, Zebra Medical Vision

Flair Bar, VP R&D, Zebra Medical Vision. Photo credit: LinkedIn

Flair Bar, VP R&D, Zebra Medical Vision. Photo credit: LinkedIn

As Flair mentions in her LinkedIn profile, “‘I want to lead the world’ was my reply to ‘What will you be when you grow up?’ question, since I was 5 years old.” She certainly is as Zebra Medical Vision aims to better diagnose breast cancer.

VC of the Year

Nominees:

Bessemer Venture Partners
Sequoia
TLV Partners
Singulariteam
Magma

Winner: Bessemer Venture Partners

Image credit: Bessemer Venture Partners

Image credit: Bessemer Venture Partners

Not only is Bessemer Venture Partners the United States’ oldest venture capital firm, it is also one of the first to have expanded to Israel. Bessemer has a number of Israeli startups in its portfolio, including Fiverr, illusive networks, and Team8.

Micro VC of the Year

Nominees:

StageOne
Lool Ventures
Maverick Ventures
Firstime Ventures

Winner: Lool Ventures

Image credit: Lool Ventures

Image credit: Lool Ventures

Lool Ventures explains its name nicely: “‘Lool’ is a Hebrew word, and it stands for both Crib and Hatchery or Chicken Coop. In fact, we like to think of lool ventures as all of these combined – a hatchery where precious things are born and raised, a crib in which young ideas are nurtured and grown, and chicken coop because that’s what it sounds like when you put the combined energies of dozens of entrepreneurs in a single room.”

Its portfolio include startups like Wibbitz, MediSafe, LawGeex.

Male Investor of the Year

Nominees:

Gigi Levy-Weiss
Tal Barnoach, Disruptive
Zohar Gilon
Adam Fisher, Bessemer Venture Partners
Ran Achituv, Magma VC

Winner: Adam Fisher

Photo credit: Yoram Reshef

Photo credit: Yoram Reshef

Adam Fisher, one of Geektime’s 100 most influential people in Israeli hi-tech in 2015, is responsible for Bessemer Venture Partners’ investments in Israel and Europe. Among his most notable exits and IPOs are those of Wix; Storwize, which was sold to IBM; Intucell, which was sold to Cisco; and Soluto, which was sold to Asurion.

Female Investor of the Year

Nominees:

Anat Naschitz, OrbiMed
Rona Segev, TLV Partners
Shuly Galili, UpWest Labs
Fiona Darmon, JVP
Liat Aaronson, Marker LLC

Winner: Rona Segev

Rona Segev-Gal. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef. Photo editing: Yarmi Arieli

Rona Segev-Gal. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef. Photo editing: Yarmi Arieli

Rona Segev, also one of Geektime’s 100 most influential people in Israeli hi-tech in 2015 and winner of this category at Geektime’s Geek Awards 2016, is considered one of the leading venture capital investors in Israel. She is responsible for a large number of successful companies, such as Itemfield, which was sold to Informatica for $65 million; Identify, which was bought by BMC for $150 million; Traiana, which was purchased by ICAP for $247 million; and Varonis, which opened on NASDAQ with a valuation of $500 million.

Greatest Contribution to the Israeli Startup Community in 2016

Nominees:

KamaTech
Start-Up Nation Central
PresenTense Israel
Irit Israeli
LeadWith

Winner: KamaTech

Moshe Friedman, Co-Founder and CEO of KamaTech. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef

Moshe Friedman, Co-Founder and CEO of KamaTech. Photo credit: Yoram Reshef

KamaTech was recognized as having the biggest impact on the Israeli community. Its training and incubation programs integrate Ultra-Orthodox Israelis into the country’s tech economy. It also won this award at Geektime’s Geek Awards 2016.

Israeli Accelerator of the Year

Nominees:

Microsoft Ventures
NFX
TheHive Ashdod
The Bridge
IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator

Winner: Microsoft Ventures

Photo credit: Microsoft Ventures

Photo credit: Microsoft Ventures

Microsoft Ventures, one of Israel’s leading corporate accelerators, boasts accelerating Israeli companies such as EverCloud, Odemeda, Medisafe, Udobu and Woo (formerly Highr).

Coworking Space of the Year

Nominees:

WeWork
Mindspace
SOSA
Hubanana
MESH

Winner: WeWork

 

Wework. Photo credit: Geektime

WeWork. Photo credit: Geektime

Just as WeWork has overtaken the world of coworking, it also has made its mark on the Israeli ecosystem.

Bootstrapped Startup of the Year

Nominees:

Wikids
Arbe Robotics
SaferVPN.com
Fitness22
Roundforest

Winner: Roundforest

Team Roundforest Photo Credit: Roundforest

Hailing from Tel Aviv with offices in Jerusalem, Roundforest has been included in a number of lists, including the Next Web’s 6 big data companies to watch in 2017. It helps consumers make more informed shopping decisions, establishing a connection between comsumers and merchangts. According to the company, they helped facilitate over $420 million worth of sales in 2016, and have a reach of some 30 million monthly users.

Best New Startup of the Year

Nominees:

Aidoc
Lemonade
Innoviz Technologies
MissBeez
Inception VR

Winner: Lemonade

Lemonade's co-founders Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger. Photo credit: Lemonade

Lemonade’s co-founders Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger. Photo credit: Lemonade

While insurance tech scored some big rounds in a booming year, none were as significant as the Geek Award winner for New Startup of the Year, Lemonade. They raised $34 million from GV and General Catalyst in the beginning of December.

Startup of the Year

Nominees:

Playbuzz
Lightricks
Via
SimilarWeb
AppsFlyer

Winner: AppsFlyer

Photo credit: AppsFlyer

Photo credit: AppsFlyer

And the Israeli startup of the year? AppsFlyer, which just last week picked up a colossal $56 million Series C funding round led by Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Telekom.

“Many companies still aren’t measuring the right things,” Co-Founder and CEO Oren Kaniel told Geektime last week. “In the past two years we delivered some game-changing products that fundamentally make marketing more accessible, measurable, and predictable.”

Gedalyah Reback contributed reporting. 

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Laura Rosbrow-Telem

About Laura Rosbrow-Telem


I am a social entrepreneurship enthusiast: This is what happens when a former social worker becomes a tech journalist. I mostly write about startups, technology, peace and justice issues, cultural topics, and personal stuff. Before Geektime, I was an editor at the Jerusalem Post and Mic.

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