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
Orly Shoavi, SafeDK
Orit Hashay, Brayola
Maya Gura, MissBeez
Iris Shoor, Oribi
Liat Mordechay Hertanu, 24me
Winner: Maya Gura
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
Daniel Ramot, Via
Nir Erez, Moovit
Shaul Olmert, Playbuzz
Daniel Schreiber, Lemonade
Tomer Tagrin, Yotpo
Winner: Nir Erez
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
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
Outbrain, one of the leading content discovery platforms in the world, raised $45 million this year.
Female CTO of the Year
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
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
Bessemer Venture Partners
Winner: 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
Winner: 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
Tal Barnoach, Disruptive
Adam Fisher, Bessemer Venture Partners
Ran Achituv, Magma VC
Winner: Adam Fisher
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
Anat Naschitz, OrbiMed
Rona Segev, TLV Partners
Shuly Galili, UpWest Labs
Fiona Darmon, JVP
Liat Aaronson, Marker LLC
Winner: Rona Segev
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
Start-Up Nation Central
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
IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator
Winner: 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
Just as WeWork has overtaken the world of coworking, it also has made its mark on the Israeli ecosystem.
Bootstrapped Startup of the Year
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
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
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.