• Kobi Tour Guide of Israel

Unicorns: Israel Goes from Startup - to Scaleup - Nation

Updated: Aug 21

One of the big changes in Israeli business that I talk about on my Israel tech tour is how in the last 5 years Israelis have undergone a shift in philosophy. For years we were known as the "Startup Nation" as per the excellent book by Saul Singer and Dan Senor. We would build companies and sell them to major companies in what is called an exit. Over 20 Israeli startups have had exits over $1 billion. Now that is changing.


Israelis began to say to themselves - why not us? Why can't we build giant businesses? Instead of having Google, Intel, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft etc. open up shop in Israel, why can't we be the ones to build the next huge thing?


Basically it is what I called the "Waze vs. Wix Debate" after Waze sold for over 1 billion dollars back in 2013. Wix meanwhile was adamant about building up their company on their own. Full Disclosure: This website is actually created using the Wix platform (can I get a free year now?).


Today Israel has more unicorns - companies valued at over 1 billion dollars - than billion dollar exits. Just in the year 2019 alone Israel almost doubled the number of unicorns from 13 to 30. This places us just behind the USA and China in total numbers worldwide. "While Israelis make up 0.11 percent of the global population, with just approximately 9 million people, Israeli founders are behind a staggering 5.62 percent of existing unicorns today." Those numbers were from December when we had 30 unicorns on record. A website called TechAviv has tracked 39 different companies founded by Israelis - partly because there are now 9 Israeli-founded unicorns which are based in New York City (up from 5 just a year ago) - which is another interesting trend. As an Israel tour guide, I'll have to leave you to check those ones out on your own - for the rest, well, you can check out what we can do together on a tech tour of Israel here: https://www.tourguideofisrael.com/hi-tech-tours


Finally, it appears we need a new nickname.

Welcome to Scaleup Nation: Land of the Jewnicorns.


For more check out these articles:

https://nocamels.com/2019/12/billion-dollar-30-israeli-founded-unicorns-13-joined-2019/

https://www.israel21c.org/new-york-is-now-home-to-nine-israeli-founded-unicorns/

https://www.techaviv.com/unicorns

https://www.forbes.com/sites/startupnationcentral/2018/05/14/israeli-techs-identity-crisis-startup-nation-or-scale-up-nation/

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