Israel’s startup ecosystem is maturing with more entrepreneurs taking on global markets and innovating at a rapid pace. This year in particular was a banner year, with companies such as Waze being acquired for $1bn by Google and mega IPO of Wix. Israel’s ecosystem of startups boasts some 3,000 companies but what inspires me as I meet so many talented entrepreneurs in Israel are some of the female founders who are building businesses utilizing unique technologies and addressing huge markets.
Women tech founders in Israel face similar challenges to their US counterparts, bootstrapping and operating in a largely male dominated industry. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, women make up about 35% of the nation’s high-tech workforce with less than 10% as founders of tech startups and only a handful are venture backed.
Despite these numbers, we have seen a growing trend of strong female founders charging ahead to start their companies, bringing unique background as Product UX experts, software developers, researchers, marketing professionals, engineers and architects. Similarly, some great programs emerged to support and encourage Israeli women in tech. Most recently Campus for Moms a baby-friendly start-up school for new moms, run by Google Tel Aviv in partnership with Yazamiyot, a networking group for Israeli women entrepreneurs. This allows for much optimism and inspiration for next generation of female entrepreneurs in the country.
Below are some of the women founders to watch out of Israel.
Naama Alon (Co-founder & CPO, HoneyBook)
Graduate of Shenkar, Israel’s top design school, Naama’s strength in product design and UX was matched with entrepreneurial drive to disrupt the multi billion dollar wedding industry. She co-founded HoneyBook to modernize the event and wedding planning experience. Naama recently moved to San Francisco where HoneyBook leads market efforts while keeping strong tech development team in Tel Aviv. Follow her @naama_cohen
Triinu Magi (Co-founder & CTO, Neura)
An expert data analyst, security analyst and software architect, Triinu co-founded Neura to lead the revolution of The Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices. Previously she led RSA’s emerging technologies and new adaptive fraud detection models as senior researcher for the CTO of RSA Security. Immigrated to Israel form Estonia, Triinu was chosen to act as the independent security analyst to evaluate the security of the world first successful e-voting system – the Estonian e-voting system. Follow her @triinush.
Tamar Yaniv (Co-founder & CEO, Preen.me)
Equipped with strong Acquisition marketing and brand creation experience in leading online gaming companies, Tamar set on disrupting the beauty industry with the creation of Preen.me. Utilizing social graphs and crowd sourcing, Preen.Me provides personalized product recommendations based on preferences of women with a similar profile, enabling users to make significantly more accurate purchases. Preen.me is over 1.7 million members strong, and is currently the most active beauty community on the web. Follow her @tamaryaniv.
Iris Shoor (Co-founder & VP Product, Takipi)
An architecht by training, Iris is the co-founder and VP Product at Takipi, a new start-up leveraging Big Data technology to change how developers debug software and manage downtime in the cloud. At 25 she already successfully sold here first startup VisualTao to Autodesk. She also writes regularly in her popular blog about tips and tricks for early stage startups. Follow her @irisShoor.
Daphna Nissenbaum (Co-founder & CEO, Tipa)
A computer engineer by trade, Daphna’s passion for sustainability and the environment led her to start Tipa. The company is set to address the dire need for food packaging that is genuinely ecologically- sensitive. Tipa is developing revolutionary biodegradable packages that automatically “perish” within 180 days. Her efforts won Tipa’s first-place prize at Israel’s Cleantech 2012 out of 50 promising companies and also the Anuga Foodtec prize, a leading food industry packaging conference in Germany.
Dr. Kira Radinsky (Co-founder & CTO, SalesPredict)
Kira is the CTO and cofounder of SalesPredict, where she is pioneering predictive analytics solutions that increase the effectiveness of each and every sales conversation, transforming the way companies do business. Kira is passionate about predictive data mining, the construction of algorithms that leverage web knowledge and dynamics to predict future events. Her research at the Technion and Microdoft Research has produced predictive algorithms that enable early warning of globally impactful events. MIT Technology Review honored her as one of 35 top young innovators for 2013. Follow her @KiraRadinsky.
Maayan Cohen (Co-Founder & CEO, Hello Doctor)
An experienced executive in consumer behavior and strategy, Maayan came from the biotechnology and business fields. She co-founded HelloDoctor following her experience being a caretaker for her partner who was diagnosed with brain tumor. After two years and countless paper work, documentations and doctors’ appointments, the inefficiencies in the system were evident. Maayan decided to fix that. Her company enables people with complex medical conditions to intuitively organize all their medical records in “SmartLists” making sure they can easily navigate and access medical records, no matter how many different doctors or clinics they visit. Hello doctor recently launched in the app store.
Yael Givon (Co-founder & CEO, Stevie)
A seasoned web creative and experienced entrepreneur, Yael was director of marketing at ICQ (AOL) and consulted to many startups on product marketing strategies. She co-founded Stevie to be at the forefront of a big change in the TV viewing business. Stevie is a platform that turns your social feeds into broadcast television, creating personal, monetizable entertainment across platforms. The app combines the power of big data and social media to personalize your television experience. It includes hundreds of channels based on popular Facebook pages, hashtags and Twitter accounts and provides an endless lean back TV experience. Follow her@YaelGivon.
Orit Hashai (Founder & CEO, Brayola)
Experienced web entrepreneur and previous investment manager at Israel’s top VC; Orit’s passion is for building great businesses. She started Brayola to help women discover their next favorite bra online without “having a fit.” The technology is based on crowd sourcing from more than 500,000 user profiles. The site now has bras of over 300 brands. Orit and Brayola ventured to NYC this year where they are taking a bite of the Big Apple surrounded by the world’s largest fashion brands and Brayola’s user community. Follow her @OritHashay
Liat Mordechay Hertnou (Co-founder and CMO, 24Me)
Busy mother of three and exceptional businesswoman with background in both computer science and marketing, Liat aims to revolutionize the way people manage their day-to-day life. She co-founded 24Me, a breakthrough mobile concept, providing a one-stop shop to manage daily life: a smart predictive calendar unified with an automatic task manager. This is the modern version or your own personal assistant. Liat and her seven people company are based in Tel Aviv. Follow her @liatmord
Which female founders on this list have inspired you?
About the guest blogger: Shuly Galili is the co-founder of UpWest Labs, a Silicon Valley accelerator investing in Israeli entrepreneurs. She spent the last decade building Silicon Valley’s gateway to Israel. Prior to UpWest Labs she was the Executive Director of The California Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC). Follow her on Twitter @shulygalili.