“Unicorns”, perhaps the most overused term in the valley since Aileen Lee coined it in November 2013, are private companies with valuations in excess of $1 Billion. The tech world, and increasingly wall street, is enamored with them because of the enormous wealth they create, and as some surmise, the shift in private and public market dynamics they represent. Founders dream of their pony’s becoming mythical beasts, Fortune christened 2015 The Age of Unicorns and maintains an official Unicorns List and you can’t have a cup of coffee on University ave in Palo Alto without overhearing geeks and suits strategizing about how they can become or join one. That’s not really the case yet on Rothschild Blvd in Tel Aviv but we’re getting there and overall, its a positive thing trend that we’re thinking bigger.
The good news is that Israeli founders are not primarily motivated by money, the bad news is that we need much more professional exposure to the inner operational workings of nimble private companies that reach this kind of business and product scale. The 22 year old 8200 haxor that starts up a startup immediately after their military service is lacking fundamental company building experience – and often doesn’t know it. Michael Eisenberg opined astutely about this local dilemma in his infamous Hummus Manifesto.
Having recently sold my own company to a Unicorn, I’m witnessing first hand the personal growth benefits for our young Tel Aviv team, well beyond the substantial financial gain. Being an integral part of a young rocket-ship hurling towards IPO is expanding their professional skills and corporate acumen in ways our small startup could not afford them.
So what opportunities do the best and brightest in Israel have if they want to join a local Unicorn? Who are they and how do you get in touch? We’re very fortunate to have a significant number of rapidly scaling businesses in Israel, and we too have Unicorns in our midst.
Unicorns in Israel 2015 (Private companies valued in excess of $1B):
|Alex Karp||$20B||Tel Aviv||Link|
|Houzz||Adi Tatarko||$2.3B||Tel Aviv||Link|
|Klarna (SE founders)||Sebastian Siemiatkowski||$2.3B||Tel Aviv||Link|
|Gett||Shahar Waiser||$2B||Tel Aviv||Link|
|Aaron Vermut||$2B||Tel Aviv||Link|
|Magic Leap||Rony Abovitz||$2B||Tel Aviv||N/A|
|IronSource||Tomer Bar-Zeev||$1.5B||Tel Aviv||Link|
|Taboola||Adam Singolda||$1B||Tel Aviv||Link|