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Why Israel is a Hot Spot for Startups

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Right now, Israel’s startup scene is absolutely buzzing. Last week was a week that can truly sum up the tech environment in Israel. In the past week, 4 companies were acquired; Amazon’s purchase of Annapurna Labs for $370m; Connecticut’s Harman International Industries purchase of Red Bend Software for $200m; DropBox’s purchase of CloudOn for $150m; and Microsoft’s purchase of Equivio for $50m. Add to that $130m invested by an assortment of multinationals in local startups and it becomes apparent that the week represented $900m of foreign investment into the country.

As you can see when it comes to producing startups, the nation is only second to Silicon Valley, brimming with companies in ad tech (from native and programmatic to video and mobile).

Looking for innovative and cutting edge companies in 2015? Israel is the place to be.

Small, but mighty.

It may be considerably tiny in terms of size and population, but Israel is actually a giant when it comes to the tech industry. The nation has roughly 7.6 million people and approximately 4.8000 startups (100 of which are listed on the NASDAQ). It hosts more startups and attracts more venture capital per person than anywhere else in the world (compared to $70 per person in the U.S., Israel pulls in $170 per person in venture capital investment).

Talent and resources.

In Israel, there exists a tightly-knit startup ecosystem, creating a valuable community of entrepreneurs and highly efficient dream teams. With support from top universities, the armed services, and government programs, the nation has fueled innovation and developed strong STEM talent. As Dan Senor and Saul Singer wrote in Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, citizens leave the military with hands-on experience with next-gen technology, training in teamwork and leadership, and a desire to continue to serve the country in the tech industry.

Thanks to it’s entrepreneurial mindset and engineering talent, Israel attracts tech giants from around the globe. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and IBM have set up shop here, frequently buying up startups and relocating acquisitions to their R&D labs.

Companies on the cutting edge.

Israel is home to more than a handful of startups on the cutting edge, offering real solutions for consumers.

For example, Waze, a mapping company recently acquired by Google, has developed the world’s largest community based traffic and navigation app.iOnRoad is a mobile app that warns drivers when they are too close to the car in front of them. PlayBuzz, is a publishing platform that allows consumers and brands to easily build “playful content” such as listicles and quizzes. The platform hit No. 2 on Newswhip’s index of the most shared Facebook publishers.

And Billguard tracks bank and credit card activity and cross-references charges with those flagged by community members in order to give consumers more control over their bills. Last year alone, the company received a third round of funding, rolled out an Android app, and partnered with leading credit services firm Experian to offer identity theft insurance policies.

Keep your eye on the startups on the rise as well. These include Keywee (an SA platform that analyzes content and automatically promotes it to qualified audiences), Appsee (a mobile analytics platform that automatically tracks users’ interactions within an app to provide insights on behavior), and Imonomy (an in-image ad platform).

The country’s thriving startup scene only continues to grow, offering new opportunities for business success. This is the time to tap into Israel’s talent, technology, and entrepreneurial energy.

Which is why I decided to produce the Israel Ad Tech Summit, designed to showcase emerging advertising technologies in native, mobile, video, cross-screen, programmatic, and content marketing. This spring, industry executives from around the world will meet one-on-one during a personalized roadshow, while Israeli startups will gain access to agencies, publishers, and executives that have previously been nearly inaccessible.

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