Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ten Impressive Tel Aviv Tech Startups

[Buried in HuffPostTech.]

With more than 700 early-stage startups, and as many as 5,000 overall, it's no surprise that Tel Aviv has been ranked second only to Silicon Valley in terms of being a leading tech epicenter. Tel Aviv has established itself as one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial cities in the world. Below are 10 impressive Tel Aviv-based startups doing exciting things that tech enthusiasts should keep an eye on:
1) Kaltura
Kaltura offers a highly versatile open-source video platform for media management. The platform has been successfully integrated by hundreds of thousands of universities, businesses as well as media companies to manage, publish and distribute videos. Kaltura's leading platform allows organizations to set up their own internal "corporate tube" or "campus tube" in order to improve communications, marketing, training, teaching/learning and other use cases. Some of Kaltura's clients include Groupon, HBO, Warner Brothers as well as Bank of America among others. Kaltura recently raised $25 million in funding and is one of Israel's tech community's greatest success stories.
2) Optimove
Optimove's robust retention automation software relies on customer modeling technology to understand customers and create personalized marketing campaigns tailored to suit customers' interests. This helps businesses maximize revenue through converting more leads, increasing customer spend and engagement, reducing churn and retaining lost customers. As one of the only successful bootstrapped software startups in Tel Aviv, Optimove has proven itself as a market leader and has tripled revenue and doubled staff to 30 employees since last year.
3) Ginger
Ginger is a leading natural language learning company that offers a host of tools that help native and non-native English speakers better express themselves in written language. The company has remarkably indexed over a trillion English language sentences on the Web in order to create a complex algorithm that fixes and enriches users' writing based on contextual understanding. Since being founded in 2007, the company has raised nearly $21 million and is one of the most impressive and brilliant startups in Tel Aviv.
4) Wix
Wix offers a simple and highly intuitive drag-and-drop web publishing platform which enables those without any coding or design experience to create and maintain professional-looking websites. Users can choose from an array of professionally designed templates and can also add applications to increase website functionality. Currently Wix hosts about 36 million users in 190 countries and is growing at an estimated rate of 1.3 million new users monthly. Having already raised $58.5 million in funding, Wix recently filed for a $75 million Wall Street IPO.

5) BillGuard
BillGuard is a crowdsourced personal finance security company which alerts consumers to credit card charges which are erroneous and unauthorized. Consumers are alerted whenever a credit card charge is flagged by other BillGuard users. Not only does BillGuard monitor credit cards for suspicious charges but also ensures that credit card holders get refunded. In late 2011, BillGuard raised $10 million in funding bringing its total funding to$13 million.

6) GetTaxi
GetTaxi, a household name among Israelis, is a preeminent mobile app for hailing taxis and private cars in 20 cities around the world - including London, Tel Aviv, Moscow and soon-to-be New York. With over a million consumer users and 1,500 corporate clients (including the likes of Google, Morgan Stanley and Deloitte), GetTaxi has revolutionized the way people get around in major cities. The company, founded in 2010, has raised over $30 million in venture funding and is headquartered in Tel Aviv with offices in London, Moscow and New York. Today, GetTaxi is a global mobile app with game-changing technology and a strong customer experience that at peak times facilitates a ride every second. This startup makes Tel Aviv proud.
7) Wibbitz
Wibbitz makes it possible to convert any online text into a video clip for convenient on-the-go content consumption. The platform is designed for website owners and publishers who are looking for a simple way to offer consumers video summaries of content. Using sophisticated semantic text analysis, Wibbitz finds the most appropriate images which are then coupled with voiceover and visual effects. Wibbitz is being used on more than 50,000 sites and recently raised $2.3 million in funding.
8) Roomer
Roomer is a marketplace for selling prepaid hotel reservations thus eliminating the need for cancellation fees. The service connects travelers stuck with a hotel room they no longer need and those looking for last minute discounted accommodation. Roomer uses an automated validation system to authenticate reservations ensuring that buyers are never mislead or disappointed. Having recently raised $2 million, Roomer looks set to dramatically impact the hotel industry.

9) Shaker
Shaker is a virtual event hosting platform that turns one's Facebook profile into a walking avatar which can attend different events and interact with other avatars. This adds a more interactive element to Facebook and makes it far easier to socialize with strangers. Shaker draws on data from Facebook to provide attendees with ice-breaking information such as common friends, interests and shared birthdays. In 2011, Shaker raised $15 million in funding. This less than a month after the company was awarded $50,000 for winning the TechCrunch Disrupt.

10) Appsfire
Appsfire is platform for the discovery, distribution and promotion of apps. The platform's recommendation engine helps users discover apps of interest and in this way helps developers expose their apps to millions of users worldwide. Appsfire's powerful app distribution service makes it possible for companies to effectively market an app without any know how. In 2011 Appsfire raised $3.6 million bringing its total funding to $4.6 million.

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