By now we’ve all probably heard of the startup scene that is flourishing in Israel, or the Startup Nation. After finishing up their army service, many young Israelis go on to make waves in the tech world, often setting roots in Tel Aviv.
And these initiatives are highly valuable. According to PwC Israel, Israeli high-tech exits in 2013 were worth $US7.6 billion. And this isn’t a new thing. Dating back to the early start of the country, a huge amount of innovation and inventions have come from Israel.
Catching onto this trend, a number of American tech giants, including Google and Apple, have opened offices in Israel to tap into the wealth of tech talent.
Putting all of this together, you get a pretty influential country.
Founder of Outbrain
With the Outbrain team, Galai created an article recommendation engine that is used by publications like publications as CNN, Fox News, Mashable, MSNBC, and Slate. Outbrain has raised $US99 million in funding and has acquired some other startups, too.
Before Outbrain, Galai cofounded Quigo, a provider of performance-based marketing solutions for advertisers and premium publishers. Quigo was acquired by AOL in 2007.
President and CEO of BriefCam
With his BriefCam team, Irani created the technology, Video Synopsis, that was instrumental in catching the Boston Marathon bombers. The technology condenses hours of video into minutes to help analyse local surveillance video.
Irani also served as CEO of ImageID, which provided image-based tracking services and was acquired by Belgium-based Zetes Industries. He's also held important positions at Aladdin Knowledge Systems, eSafe Business Unit, and Comverse.
President/founder of PrimeSense
Along with his cofounder, Alexander Shpunt, Maizels created the technology that powered Microsoft Kinect and made it possible to control devices with 3D gestures and motion tracking. According to Forbes, the technology's sensors can actually see the heartbeat of game players and get an idea of whether or not the player is enjoying the game.
Last year Apple acquired PrimeSense for $US360 million, perhaps to work the technology into Apple TV.
Cofounder/CEO of Wix
Abrahami started Tel Aviv-based Wix, which makes it supereasy to create your own website. On the same day he took Wix public, he also sold his startup Soluto for $US130 million.
Soluto is basically a personal IT person who helps non-techies navigate a PC.
Before founding Wix in 2006, Abrahami led a number of successful startups, including the software company AIT, which he founded in 1994 and sold in 1997.
CEO of LightCyber
Fink is most famous for helping create the world's first solar window with Pythagoras Solar, helping buildings consume less energy. He was also one of the earliest employees of Check Point Software and helped it become a leader in internet security.
Fink is currently the CEO at LightCyber, which identifies security threats within the corporate network and detects breaches.
Founder/executive chairman of Urban Compass
Allon is slowly making his rounds in the tech world, starting with his thesis work called Orion that was acquired by Google. After integrating the technology into the Google search engine, Allon moved on to create Julpan and sell it to Twitter. He then joined Twitter's forces in NYC as director of engineering.
Nowadays, Allon is busy on his newest startup Urban Compass, which is working to improve the housing situation in New York.
Senior director of Microsoft Ventures
Weisfeld heads up Microsofts R&D center in Israel where he helps discover the tech talent in the country. The center has acquired seven Israeli companies and invested in a bunch of others. It also offers an accelerator program for early startups and young entrepreneurs.
Before Microsoft ventures, Weisfeld cofounded a number of startups and served as VP of marketing for Modu, the Israeli cell phone startup and GM Americas of MSystems.
Head of Apple Israel's R&D centres
Aharon took on this position at Apple in 2011 and is a veteran player in Israel's high-tech industry.
Before joining Apple's team, Aharon cofounded Camero Inc., which develops Radio Frequency based imaging systems. He also held top positions at Seabridge Ltd., a Siemens Company, Zoran Corp., and IBM.
Google Israel's new business development head
Miller works with Google product teams on new initiatives and relationships. He joined Google in 2006 after working for Amdocs, a software and communications services provider.
Having helped put together Google's Campus Tel Aviv, an event and community space that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, Miller was one of the first employees to establish Google Israel's business operations as a technology industry leader.
Facebook's growth manager
Makavy was picked up by Facebook after the social media giant acquired Snaptu, Facebook's first Israeli startup acquisition. Snaptu created apps for feature phones before the iPhone came out. As CEO of Snaptu, Makavy was one the 12 employees who moved to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, and he is now one of 10 who still work for Facebook.
Currently one of the highest ranking Israelis at Facebook, Makavy is now working to spread affordable internet to the world's poorest communities through the Internet.org project.
President/CEO of Teva
Vigodman is behind the world's largest generic drugmaker, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Vigodman joined Teva in 2009 and became CEO this past February.
Before that, he was the president and chief executive officer of Strauss Group, an Israeli food products manufacturer.
Between 2005 and 2009, Vigodman served on the Advisory Board to the Governor of the Bank of Israel, and he is still a member of the Advisory Committee to the Israel National Economic Council.
EMC's corporate vice president of growth and innovation
Berry has more than 25 years of experience in the Israeli science, technology, and venture capital industries. Before EMC, she was a founding partner of Ornet Data Communications Ltd., served as chief scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade in the Israeli government, was the chairperson of the Israeli Venture Capital Funds Association, and was a venture partner at Gemini Israel Funds.
Berry recently received the 'Yakirat Ha'Negev' award from Ben Gurion University, which recognised her achievements and excellence in the technology industry and her successful entrepreneurship ventures.
Founder of Nanography
Landa holds 800 patents worldwide and invented the world's first digital colour printing press in 1993. His technology, Indigo, was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Company in 2002, but Landa quickly moved onto his next project, Landa Group, which worked on converting air to electricity.
Now he is hard at work with Nanography, which is aiming to revolutionise digital printing yet again, using nanotechnology to update digital printing.
Chairman, CEO, and founder of Comigo
Moran is most famous for inventing the first flash drive, called DiskOnKey, in 1998. The company M-Systems was sold to SanDisk in 2006 for $US1.6 billion. So he then decided to start a mobile phone company called modu in 2007. Modu later sold several patents to Google for $US4.9 million.
But don't expect him to quit after all that. In 2012, Moran founded Comigo, which develops a cross-device TV platform.
Vice president at Yalla.co.il
Vardi is most famous for being the early investor in ICQ, the internet chat program that was acquired by AOL in 1998, which was founded by Vardi's son Arik and three friends. The company started with seed funding from Vardi and by 1999, ICQ had more than 50 million registered users, making it the largest international online service.
Not one to sit on his laurels, Vardi is currently vice president for Yalla.co.il, Israel's version of eBay. Seen as 'the godfather of Israel's high-tech industry,' Vardi has lent a hand to the creation of dozens of tech companies, including Answers.com, software solutions firm Gteko (bought by Microsoft in 2006), Gifts Project (acquired by eBay), Airlink, Scopus, and BrightCove.
One of Business Insider's top 100 stars in Silicon Valley, Bardin joined Waze when it was in its infancy in Israel and led it to a billion-dollar acquisition by Google. Google has integrated some of Waze's data into Google Maps, but Waze continues to operate its own stand-alone app.
Before Waze, Bardin was CEO of Intercast Networks and co-founded Deltathree Inc., a VoIP service provider. And he has always been a strong believer of the power of Israeli startups.
Dror Berman, the founding managing partner of Innovation Endeavours
Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners (and now also a politician)
Jon Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd
Michael Eisenberg, founder and partner at Aleph
Nechemia Peres, cofounder and managing general partner at Pitango
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