OurCrowd is a startup that helps ordinary, upper middle class folks (doctors, lawyers, business owners) invest in startups with the same terms that top-tier VCs get.
These days, tech companies are growing into multi-billion-dollar companies while they are still private. By crowdsourcing its investment fund, OurCrowd is helping more investors tap into that early stage wealth creation.
It's the brainchild of Israeli powerhouse VC Jon Medved, known as one of the founders of the Israeli startup scene.
IronSource: app discovery and monetization
IronSource helps mobile developers advertise to find customers and add advertising to their apps.
It's one of Israel's unicorns, with a $1 billion+ valuation after it raised a $105 million round in February. It employs 550, generates "hundreds of millions" in revenue and has half a billion users a month, founder and CEO Tomer Bar Zeev told us.
Bar Zeev has a unique management philosophy, too. He likes to acquire companies and then he turns those founders into co-founders at IronSource. So IronSource has 8 founders, and counting.
A few years ago, he left the jewelry business to focus on SimilarWeb and his company has gone crazy ever since. Last year it grew from 60 employees to 200 and is hiring in New York and Israel about 20 more people a month.
SimilarWeb is backed by gigantic African internet investment conglomerate Naspers.
Zutalabs: a walking printer and Kickstarter darling
The device went crazy on Kickstarter last year, raising $500,000 and has since raised an undisclosed investment from VCs, CEO Tuvia Elbaum tells us. It also won Best of Innovation Award at CES 2015.
The company now has 11 employees and the device is selling out via online orders. In 2016 the printer will be on sale "with one of the leading retailers in the world, but can't disclose about this yet," Elbaum says.
Lightricks: professional photo editing on your iPhone
Lightricks makes a popular smartphone photo-editing app, Facetune, that's a perpetual member on the App Store's best-selling apps list.
It has 4.5 million customers including, reportedly, Kim Kardashian, who uses it to touch up selfies and other photos of faces.
Its team of PhD founders invented more than just an app. They created a graphics engine that helps cameras work better. And they have their own secret sauce, mobile advertising software used only by themselves, that helps them stay in the best-selling apps list.
There are a lot of DIY website services out there, and they create sort of blah, ordinary sites.
If you are an artist or designer, you can't settle for that, much less use something like that for your clients.
Enter Webydo, which lets artists and designers create really sophisticated sites without knowing how to code.
It's a popular concept that's grown to 190,000 users, over 60 employees and raised $13 million.
Plarium: online games for hardcore gamers
You can be a hardcore video game addict even if you don't own an Xbox or PlayStation. Plarium makes mobile and browser social games played by over 130 million people worldwide, such as Total Domination Reborn.
The games are free but players will pay for special powers or other goodies that give them an advantage. A serious gamer might spend $70 a month with Plarium, a spokesperson told us. And that means the company has never taken any VC funds.
It's grown to 800 employees worldwide (150 in Israel) fully self-supported.
It's also a family business. It has a whopping 7 co-founders, four of them are related identical twin brothers, a sister and a cousin.)
AngelSense: keeping special-needs kids safe
AngelSense is a tracking device and app for special needs children.
It's already been credited for saving one Autistic child in Texas, who was being abused by a bus driver. The device alerted the mom when her daughter wasn't where she should have been. The mom activated the microphone, heard a struggle and discovered the situation.
Plus, the entire staff of AngelSense is comprised of parents (mostly mothers) of special needs children, Somer told us.
They often have trouble finding jobs flexible enough given their demanding home life situation and they offer incredibly sympathetic support to AngelSense customers.
Deeplink.me: Embedding URL links to mobile apps
Deeplink.me lets mobile app developers create a URL for some portion of their app and link to it from other places on the Web, for instance from a Tweet.
Although it's only a 7-person company, it's got some big name users like Shazam, DraftKings, Urban Outfitters, and Fox Sports. It also just launched AppWords, a service that finds other apps based on deep links.
"We believe this is the future of mobile search: preemptive, deep linked, kind of like the content finds you," CEO and cofounder Itamar Weisbrod told us.
Fairfly: saving money on airfare after you buy your ticket
Most people give up searching for airfare deals once they buy their ticket. If prices drop, they might not even know about it.
Fairfly watches those prices for you, and if they fall low enough to cover the re-booking fees, Fairfly rebooks it for you, the exact same flight.
And, this is the third startup for Tal, who co-founded database security company Guardium acquired by IBM for $225 million and Insightix bought by McAfee.
Playbuzz: internet quizzes and viral stories
PlayBuzz launched less than two years ago and it's been an internet sensation ever since.
PlayBuz lets anyone create viral internet quizzes and lists, the kind of stuff that people like to share on Facebook.
It now has 94 million people as users, has raised about about $21 million in venture funds, and has 80 employees.
Payoneer: make payments across borders
So, you've found a great offshore freelancer and when she sends you her bill it hits you: she wants to be paid in her own country's currency, but your accounting system isn't set up for that.
That's the problem Payoneer solves for millions of businesses and professionals in more than 200 countries. It offers easy cross-border payments.
Payoneer was founded in Israel but now calls New York its home headquarters. It's raised $90 million, including a new $50 million round in August, and it employs 500 people worldwide.
Showbox: easily create professional videos
Want to be a YouTube star? You're going to create professional videos that include cool effects, but you might need to fix audio problems that arise. Plus you'll need the rights and permissions to use clips and images from other's videos.
Showbox does all of that and it does it for free. That's why it's used by celeb bloggers like Perez Hilton. Showbox is currently being used by about 2,000 YouTube stars, who are helping the company work out the kinks.
But Showbox is still in beta and won't let just anybody use it. As of August, it had a wait list of over 50,000 people (and it's still collecting names).
The company has raised $8.6 million in seed money by some big names like Bradley Wechsler chairman of iMAX; Carl Peterson, in charge of media investment of TPG (his own money); Charles Petrocelli former president of American Express Travel.
The world is digital but you still have a lot of documents that are paper, like birth certificates driver's licenses and insurance policies.
Just take a photo of them and Docady stores them in secure cloud, or it can hunt them out of Dropbox or Google or Microsoft OneDrive.
One day soon this service will do more than store your documents. It will remind you when you need to take action, such as renewing your driver's license, or updating your insurance policy, says CTO cofounder Nadav Weizmann.
Evolero: websites for event planners
Evolero is a site that event planners can use to create websites for their events. It handles everything from registration to attendee networking.
It launched in 2014, and although it sill only has a mere 8 employees, it has been going gangbusters.
It's been used to help organize more then 1,000 events, with over 100,000 attendees by companies like Microsoft, WeWork, AOL, Intel, E&Y, TedMed, Tedx, and CEO Tal Shoham tells us. It was a graduate of Microsoft's Isreali Accelerator program.
YotPo: get real customers to write authentic reviews
Yotpo helps ecommerce sites fill their review sections with real reviews from actual customers, not spam or marketing junk.
Its secret is sending an email to people shortly after they bought a product and making it easy for them to do the review from their smartphones.
It names Staples, GoPro, Sears and other big names as customers, and has been used by 120,000 of their customers.
In June, YotPo raised $15 million ($30 million to date) and opened its second office, in New York.