Israel is a 65-year-old country of about 8 million people that is home to between 4,000 and 5,000 startups.
It is second only to Silicon Valley as a hub of tech innovation.
As Israel’s tech industry matures, it has, so far, produced 68 public companies traded on Nasdaq.
It has also increasingly attracted investment by venture capitalists worldwide. And it’s hottest companies have been a big target of acquisitions, particularly by big U.S. tech companies.
For instance, among the 20 hottest startups we named on our 2013 list, Waze was bought by Google for $US1.1 billion, PrimeSense was bought by Apple for $US345 million, Soluto was sold to a company called Asurion for an estimated $US130 million, and Wix had a successful $US119 million IPO,
Once again we compiled this list by asking people in the Israeli tech scene to name the buzzy, hot companies they are watching. Plus we threw in a few of our own. We used CrunchBase as our source for venture funding information.
CyActive came out of stealth earlier this year as one of the first security companies to be part of the Cyber Labs incubator. The incubator is a partnership between Ben-Gurion University and one of the Israel's biggest VCs, Jerusalem Venture Partners.
CyActive claims that it has tech that can end nearly all computer viruses for all time. The founders noticed that 94% of viruses are some combination of old viruses. It is building a smart engine that can recognise that existing code, even when hackers have changed it to escape detection.
The young company has not announced how much seed money it has obtained, but JVP did invest in it.
The main reason people go to conferences is to meet other people. But dealing with a handful of business cards is ridiculous in this day and age.
Enter Bizzabo, which allows you to connect with other conference attendees through their social media profiles, or to easily add them to your email address book.
About 3,000 conferences have hired Bizzabo to to handle this social networking piece, it says.
It's backed by $US1.5 million in seed money from angel investors including Jeff Pulver, co-founder in Vonage.
ironSource makes software that helps software developers get their apps found, installed and generating money. It's flagship product is called InstallCore.
If you've downloaded an app from the Internet, there's a 1 in 3 chances you did it via InstallCore, the company says.
ironSource hasn't revealed how much money its raised through investors, but it is backed by one of Israel's well-known VCs, Carmel Ventures.
It is now expanding into China, and was recently visited by famous Chinese angel Xu Xiaoping and 20 other Chinese investors. During the visit ironSource CEO Tomer Bar Zeev was made the first Israeli member of a Chinese entrepreneur organisation called the Dark Horse Club.
After selling Waze to Google for $US1.1 billion last June, co-founder Uri Levine moved onto his next startup, FeeX, which officially launched in March.
FeeX analyses hidden fees spent by financial services companies that eat into things like your retirement account. It then shows cheaper alternatives.
The company estimates that up to 1/3 of your nest egg can be gobbled up by these fees.
FeeX launched in Israel and then moved its headquarters to New York to be closer to the larger U.S. market, leaving an office in Israel.
Levine is as famous in Israel as Larry Page is in Silicon Valley and FeeX remains a buzzy startup in that country.
Consumer Physics is building a science-fiction-like device called SCiO which is currently going absolutely crazy on Kickstarter. It has raised nearly $US2.7 million from the crowdfunding site so far.
SCiO is a 'pocket molecular sensor' meaning it can scan materials and can tell you all about them, sending that information to your phone. It can identify food, medicine, plants, chemicals.
Star Trek fans would call it a 'tricorder'
The company also raised a bit over $US2 million from venture investors and angels.
Checkmarx offers a tool for software developer that helps them check their code to make sure it is bug free and can't be attacked by hackers.
It names Samsung, Coca Cola, and the U.S. Army as customers. Salesforce.com is also a customer, a partner and an investor.
Checkmarx was recently included on Red Herring's 2014 Top 100 Europe Award, honouring the most promising private companies in Europe.
Reduxio makes enterprise computer storage hardware based on flash storage technology.
It was founded by experienced storage execs including Mark Weiner, who was CEO of Exanet, a storage company that was struggling until it got a Hail Mary exit when Dell bought it for $US12 million in 2010.
Its product is currently in beta testing and will be available later this year, it says.
Reduxio is backed by Intel Capital and two well-known Israeli VCs, Jerusalem Venture Partners and Carmel Ventures.
Yotpo is a service that allows ecommerce sites to add and manage reviews. It calls its service 'social reviews' in that it uses an algorithm to filter reviews, promising 'real reviews from real people, no more fake reviews!'
Think of it like a rent-a-Yelp for ecommerce websites. But it also provides ecommerce sites with other tools. For instance, they can use it to create a customer loyalty reward system.
While a social tagging startup might sound oh-so-2010, Yotpo is on a roll this year. It landed a $US10.7 million series A in January.
BillGuard protects consumers against a kind of fraud-like activity it calls 'grey charges.' That's where companies sneak regular charges on your credit card, such as a free trial converted into a monthly subscription.
Once you sign up for BillGuard, you do nothing more. It monitors the world for fishy transactions and gets the refund for you, for up to three cards for free. It charges $US80/year to protect up to 10 cards.
After it launched an iPhone app last summer, BillGuard landed 500,000 registered users. It did particularly well after the news broke about hackers attacking Target. The company has identified more than $US1 million in fraudulent transactions, and $US60 million in suspect, grey charges, it says.
It just launched an Android app in May, too.
BillGuard has raised $US13 million so far from big-named VCs including Bessemer, Khosla, Founders Fund (Peter Thiel's and Sean Parker's fund) and Innovation Endeavours (Google chairman Eric Schmidt).
CyberArk is an enterprise security company dedicated to solving a really hard problem: stopping what's known as 'advanced persistent attacks.' That's when hackers gain legitimate access to a network through things like stolen passwords.
This is such a hot area of security that when competitor FireEye went public a few months ago, the stock went unreasonably nuts.
CyberArk has benefitted, too. By the end of 2013, it grew its workforce to over 300 people, grew revenues 30 per cent and landed over 1,400 customers including 40 of the Fortune 100, it says.
Taboola helps publishers and blog sites recommend videos and stories for their readers.
It makes 130 billion recommendations per month to 350 million people, it says, and names USA Today, The Huffington Post, Time, and The Weather Channel as customers. It just struck a deal with Yahoo! JAPAN, too.
Although it is headquartered in New York City, with R&D in Israel, it was founded by 'a bunch of geeks in the Israeli army,' as the co-founders describe themselves.
MyHeritage.com is a popular genealogy website with more than 75 million registered users.
It lists more than 1.5 billion names in 27 million family trees and hosts about 70 million photos. It has also acquired a number of smaller genealogy sites over the last few years.
Earlier this year, its digital library of historical records passed the 5 billion milestone, growing at a rate of five million records a day. These records are the cornerstone of family tree research.
The company has also partnered with Mormon Church-sponsored FamilySearch and with BillionGraves, a crowdsourced initiative to preserve the world's cemeteries.
It's backed by Bessemer, Index and Accel and Israeli famous angel Yuval Rakavy.
Kenshoo is a company that helps companies buy ads on search engines and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Kenshoo claims half the Fortune 50 and all 10 top global ad agency networks as customers including such brands as CareerBuilder, Expedia, KAYAK, Sears, Walgreens, and Zappos.
It is doing particularly well in the hot Asia/Pacific region, it says, including China. That's an emerging market attracting a lot of attention from American and European companies these days.
Sure, GetTaxi's competitor, Uber, just had a jaw-dropping round of financing, a $US1.2 billion deal that valued the company at $US18.2 billion.
But that has only spurred GetTaxi to be more vocal about how well it's doing, too. GetTaxi founder and CEO Shahar Waiser said that he expects GetTaxi to hit revenues of half a billion dollars next year and start marching toward an IPO.
GetTaxi operates in 24 cities around the world, claiming to be profitable in 22 of them, it told the Wall Street Journal.
Celeno Communications designs Wi-Fi chips. It's known for chips that deliver Wi-Fi for bandwidth-gobbling movies and music over home networks.
Celeno has become an alternative to the two companies that otherwise dominate this market: Broadcom and Qualcomm. Celeno's chips are used by more than 75 service providers worldwide, the company says.
Celeno's investors include Cisco Systems and Greylock partners.
Kaiima is a bio-tech company that is earning worldwide accolades for developing non-genetically modified ways to breed more abundant crops.
It was recently named among MIT's 50 Smartest Companies.
It's tech is being used by companies like Bayer CropScience to create hybrid forms of rice (that's the agriculture unit of the company that makes Bayer aspirin).
Outbrain customers include American Express, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive and General Mills. It's backed by Index Ventures, Carmel Ventures, Gemini Israel Funds, GlenRock Israel, Rhodium and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Founded in 2005, Conduit is known to be one Israel's most valuable private tech companies. In 2012, JP Morgan invested $US100 million into the company at about a $US1.4 billion valuation.
Conduit originally offered app distribution/download services, but it sold that business to another Israeli company, Perion, in a deal that closed earlier this year.
Today the company offers a platform that lets companies write mobile apps. It says more than 600,000 apps have been created, with 3,500 new apps added daily. It also offers an app that connects your mobile browsing on your smartphone to your PC.
Altair Semiconductor makes chips that connect mobile devices to 4G data networks.
Because Altair's chips don't support 3G at all, only 4G, it can make its chips far cheaper, $US30 compared to $US80 to $US90 range for typical 3G/4G ones, cofounder Eran Eshed told VentureBeat.
The lack of 3G support hasn't stopped the company from acquiring customers. More than 30 device makers are using Altair's chip in over 80 mobile devices including tablets, smartphones, USB dongles and portable hotspots.
Mobileye makes the cameras used in cars that warn drivers of potential collision.
Although Mobileye is an older, established company (its products have been used in cars since 2007), it's been a buzzy company again thanks to all the action going on with autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars and drones.
That's because it uses sophisticated vision algorithms to 'interpret' a scene in real-time. The company says that in 2016 it, and two unnamed partners, will launch a product for hands-free driving at high speeds in highway traffic.
Mobileye actually calls The Netherlands as its world headquarters but its development lab is in Israel and it was founded by a team of Israelis including Amnon Shashua, professor of computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.