Startups need to be laser-focused to succeed in their competitive environment. They must race to achieve product-market fit and ensure that their work adds value to their customers. Unfortunately, startups are usually overwhelmed by a mountain of technical debt and backlogged tasks in their early stages and experience a chronic shortage of resources. Under these circumstances, it isn't ideal to throw precious R&D time each month at whatever projects the team fancies building. It would be like throttling your race car just after launching from the starting line. But some companies do just that; they host ‘Innovation Days’, hackathons, and different competitions to get their employees to think outside the box and they recommend other companies do the same.


At Lumigo, products are designed with developers in mind. So, who can offer better insight into the product than the developers themselves? That's why they dedicate two days a month where teams consisting of frontend and backend developers and designers can do some R&D of their own. By mixing talent, this initiative has been able to fix bugs and add product features within just a few months. They have even created faster compilers and improvements for internal tools that streamline the CI/CD pipeline, speeding up the delivery of new features to their users. Moreover, they even created an onboarding podcast.

Lumigo staff. Credit: Nir Slakman

Lumigo was founded in 2018 by Erez Berkner (CEO) and Aviad Mor (CTO) and offers an observability platform for serverless and cloud-native applications, allowing developers to find and fix issues using automated visualized distributed racing. The company has 30 employees and is based in Tel Aviv. To date, they have raised a total of $35 million.

Vulcan Cyber

Vulcan Cyber has developed a platform to streamline business operations by eliminating or remediating critical cybersecurity risks caused by vulnerabilities. To harbour innovation, once a year, the company stops all ongoing activities for their “innovation week”. During this week, all employees tackle problems or address organizational needs. Employees are divided into groups and assigned a potential world challenge that could arise in the future. They are then tasked with producing, planning, and developing solutions to said challenges. This allows the company to think out of the box, all the while better preparing themselves for future scenarios. The innovation week also allows employees from different departments to deepen their relationships; having different department team members collaborate and work together on a given product not only creates more innovative solutions for higher business impact but also stronger friendships, which otherwise may not have had the opportunity to occur. To add more incentive to the innovation week, the whole company judges each team's solution, and the winners get a free trip to Europe.

Vulcan innovation week. 

Vulcan Cyber was founded by Yaniv Bar Dayan (CEO), Tal Morgenstern (CPO), and Roy Horev (CTO) in 2018. The company has raised $35 million to date with help of Dawn Capital, Wipro Ventures, YL Ventures, and TenEleven Ventures. The company has 90 employees and is based in Tel Aviv.


Cloudinary’s mission is to empower companies to deliver effective visual experiences by unleashing the full potential of their media. With over 50 billion assets under management and 9,000 customers worldwide, Cloudinary is the industry standard for developers, creators and marketers looking to upload, store, transform, manage, and deliver images and videos online. By using Cloudinary, leading brands are seeing significant business value including faster time to market, higher user satisfaction, and increased engagement and conversions.

To forge more innovation, Cloudinary has developed an innovation department called Cloudinary Labs. Working as an incubator for ideas, Cloudinary Labs showcases Cloudinary’s innovative research projects and experiments with ground-breaking ideas, solutions, and projects. Moreover, Cloudinary Labs welcomes feedback and suggestions from developers, media experts, and industry professionals as the projects they take on progress. The goal is for such solutions to be transitioned into useful features on the Cloudinary platform.

Cloudinary staff. Credit: Cloudinary 

Cloudinary was founded in 2012 by Itai Lahan (CEO), Nadav Soferman (CPO), and Tal Lev-Ami (CTO). Cloudinary employs about 450 employees globally and was completely bootstrapped and grew organically through internal sources. At the beginning of 2022, Cloudinary became a unicorn.


ActiveFence is the global leading tool stack for Trust & Safety teams. By relying on ActiveFence's end-to-end solution which combines automated content detection, agile moderation management, and scalable Trust & Safety intelligence – online platforms across industries can keep users safe from online harm. This includes protecting against risks to child safety, disinformation, fraud, hate speech, terror, non-consensual pornography, and more.

Using cutting-edge AI and a team of world-class subject-matter experts, ActiveFence continuously collects, analyzes, and contextualizes data, to ensure that in an ever-changing world, customers are always two steps ahead of bad actors. As a result, Trust & Safety teams can be proactive, and minimize violation prevalence as well as legal and brand risks, all the while efficiently providing maximum protection to users across a multitude of abuse areas and content formats, in 70+ languages.

To promote innovation ActiveFence hosts two unique events during the year. The first is a “Trust-a-thon”, which is a two-day company-wide hackathon completely dedicated to innovation in the Trust & Safety industry. Cross-departmental teams gathered to solve some of the most complex problems UGC (user-generated content) platforms face today. The second event is an OSINT Capture the Flag Challenge (CTF). The idea behind this is to keep their OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) analyst skills sharp and bring ActiveFence's 100+ person Delivery department together by gamifying the skills and techniques OSINT analysts use in their work by asking questions whose answers can be found buried deep in the web.

ActiveFence's analytic dashboard

ActiveFence was founded in 2018 by Noam Schwartz (CEO), Eyal Dykan (President), Alon Porat (CPO), and Iftach Orr (CTO). To date, they have raised $100 million, and employ over 300 people worldwide with offices in New York and Tel Aviv.


DayTwo is building a future where people can unlock the brilliance of their own biology to make lasting improvements to their health. They are a microbiome-based precision health company committed to creating individualized solutions to the epidemic of chronic conditions, starting with diabetes, prediabetes, and clinical obesity. Backed by ten years of science, DayTwo has the world’s largest and richest microbiome discovery platform. Their program includes gut microbiome profiling, predictive AI, and dedicated virtual care. Using a clinically proven food-as-medicine approach, DayTwo members have been able to reduce medications, avoid surgery, and lower their stress.

DayTwo prioritizes cultivating constant innovation. They do so by devoting time to two-day Hack-a-thons. These themed sessions focus on specific subjects or experiences, for example, DayTwo’s microbiome science. Members of the Research & Development department split into teams with representatives from all areas and together they must implement a proof of concept on how to deliver information about their microbiome science in the mobile app.

Credit: DayTwo

DayTwo was founded in 2015 by Yuval Ofek, Marius Nacht, and Lihi Segal. To date, it has raised $85 million in funding and employs over 150 people globally.

Argus Cyber

Argus Cyber Security is a global leader in automotive cyber security, providing solutions and services for protecting vehicles against cyber threats, attacks, and vulnerabilities. Argus’ in-vehicle and cloud technologies allow car manufacturers to reduce their vehicles’ cyber risk exposure, detect attacks, and respond to incidents throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle.

Argus holds an annual 2-days R&D hackathon to allow their team to brainstorm, play, create and engage in new ideas and concepts. In their most recent hackathon, over 50 innovative technology ideas came up by 10 different teams in less than 24 hours. The winning team’s idea was a recording tool for clients, which will record car CAN traffic and automatically and securely send this to Argus. These recordings will allow Argus to optimize the product to that specific car model, without any manual work needed, thereby enabling Argus to reduce R&D time, enhance efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.

Argus hackathon

Argus was founded in 2014 by IDF elite cyber veterans Ofer Ben-Noon (former CEO), Yaron Galula (CTO), and Oron Lavi (Chief Architect). Currently, Argus has more than 70 granted patents. In 2017, Argus was acquired by Continental AG, the 3rd largest global automotive supplier for $430 million, in one of the biggest cyber deals in Israel. Today, with tens of millions a year in sales, Argus consists of 200 employees. It is headquartered in Tel Aviv, with offices in the U.S., Germany, France, Japan, China, Korea, and Poland.


OwnBackup is a leading SaaS data protection platform that uses capabilities like data security, backup and recovery, archiving, and sandbox seeding, OwnBackup empowers thousands of organizations worldwide to manage and protect mission-critical data that drives their business.

OwnBackup goes beyond just backup and recovery solutions and develops exciting data security capabilities due to its innovative culture. To harbour this innovation, OwnBackup has company-wide hackathons to develop new product ideas and improve existing solutions. Moreover, they also have OwnBackup University which is a knowledge-sharing platform that includes sessions guided by employees alongside designated training created by the OwnBackup L&D team. It is important to OwnBackup for employees to be empowered to have a forward-thinking mindset. They ensure that OwnBackup is a workplace where it’s safe to try new things - where one can push the boundaries and learn from mistakes.

OwnBackup's new hires onboarding BootCamp. Credit: OwnBackup 

OwnBackup was founded in 2015, has 4,700 customers across every industry and has raised over $500 million in venture funding (at a valuation of $3.35 billion). They are headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, with research and development (R&D), support, and other functions in Israel, EMEA and APAC, with more than 850 employees worldwide, 166 of them being located in Israel.