By Einat Paz-Frankel, Head of Content, Start-Up Nation Central
Israel is the leading nation in the number of “unicorns” per capita. These privately held companies, valued at $1 billion or more, are named “unicorns” after the mythical creatures because they are rare, according to venture capitalist Aileen Lee, who coined the term in 2013. Many private companies that reach such high valuations are either sold or they might go public, typically through an initial public offering (IPO) on the stock exchange.
While the unicorn club is exclusive, it is by no means closed. Every year, several companies “get their horns,” and Israeli companies are increasingly finding spots on the prestigious list of unicorns, after years of innovation, investment and growth.
From project management and digital marketing to cybersecurity and InsurTech, these Israeli companies* joined the billion-dollar unicorn club in 2019:
With offices in Tel Aviv and New York, cybersecurity company Riskified has developed unique artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to help prevent fraud in eCommerce, protect user accounts and increase bank authorization rates, reducing risk across the board. Founded in 2012 by Assaf Feldman and Eido Gal, the company – which serves several Fortune 500 companies – joined the unicorn club in November 2019 thanks to a $165 million financing round led by General Atlantic, Fidelity and Winslow Capital Management.
Valued at approximately $2 billion, InsurTech company Lemonade officially became a high-tech unicorn in April 2019. The company’s AI tools automate and improve homeowners’ and renters’ insurance. By replacing brokers and bureaucracy with bots and machine learning, Lemonade seeks to eliminate paperwork and provide instant information. Founded in 2015 by Shai Wininger and Daniel Schreiber, Lemonade this year raised $300 million in a D round that included investments from Google Ventures, SoftBank, OurCrowd and others.
Lemonade is not the only InsurTech company that turned into a unicorn this year. Next Insurance, which provides small businesses with affordable coverage tailored to their specific needs, joined the unicorn club in October 2019, when the company raised $250 million from Munich Re/HSB Ventures at a valuation of a little more than $1 billion. The company was established in 2016 by Nissim Tapiro and Guy Goldstein.
Founded in 2012 by Yossi Naar and Lior Div, cybersecurity company Cybereason joined the unicorn club in August 2019. The company’s services focus on endpoint protection, detecting behavioral patterns and responding to threats. It raised an E round in August 2019 which brought in $200 million in investments from SoftBank, at a valuation of more than $1 billion.
Established by a group of five Israeli founders in 2013, Lightricks provides solutions for the mobile market, developing powerful visual editing apps for content creators. The company’s award-winning apps are used by millions of smartphone users globally. In July 2019, the company raised $135 million from Goldman Sachs and others, entering the billion-dollar unicorn club.
Founded in 2012 by Eran Zinman and Roy Man, Monday.com helps teams work together more efficiently by organizing their tasks and long-term plans. The company’s platform enables users to manage everything on a single board; instantly see who is working on what and where things stand; add tasks, projects, missions, and to-do lists; and plan workloads over time.
In July 2019, the company raised $150 million at a $1.9 billion valuation from Sapphire Ventures, Hamilton Lane, HabourVest Partners and others.
Last but not least is Israeli startup WalkMe, which raised $90 million at a $1.8 billion valuation in December 2019. Founded in 2011 by a group of four Israeli entrepreneurs, WalkMe has developed an enterprise guidance and engagement platform that enables website owners and software developers to create interactive on-screen guidance sequences to help users complete complex tasks.
*New to the unicorn club? Let us know.