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The Top 10 Israeli Artificial Intelligence Startups

Israel is a country full of history, which is why they have more museums per capita than any other country. They also have the oldest continuously used cemetery in the world and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Hearing that, you’d think that not a whole lot has changed over the years, but one thing that has constantly been evolving is their ability to innovate and be productive. (Even their dairy cows have figured out how to be the most productive in the world.) Next to the U.S. and Canada, Israel has the largest number of publicly traded companies, which shows that they can also build successful businesses.

Our recent article on “The Top-10 Biggest Startups in Israel by Funding” proved to be quite popular so we decided to do another article on the top 10 Israeli artificial intelligence (AI) startups. To come up with our list, we did a simple search on Crunchbase so if somehow we missed your well-funded stealthy AI startup located in some dusty corner of Jerusalem, drop us a note and we’ll make things right. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what the smartest people in the world are doing with AI.

Founded in 2007, Cortica has taken in total of funding of $69.4 million total funding to develop “the world’s only unsupervised learning system capable of human level image understanding.” They literally hacked into live brain tissue to figure out how cortical networks process natural stimuli and then filed more than 200 patents around their technology. In a past article we talked about developing “Real World Object Recognition – Just Like Terminator” which is what Cortica offers allowing robots, drones, vehicles, and cameras to understand what they see in real-time. They’re also enabling medical professionals with technology to visually index the human body and determine the best course of action from smart radiology, pathology, tomography and more. A consumer product is also in the works.

Founded in 2012, Riskified has raised a total funding of $63.65 million with their last Series C round of $33 million closing in June of this year. Riskified has used this money to build an “all-in-one eCommerce fraud prevention solution and chargeback protection service” which is used in various verticals such as fashion, tickets & travel, gift cards, digital goods, electronics, and apparel & jewelry with clients like Macy’s, Skullcandy, Giftcards.com and many more. If you recall from our recent article on digital authentication, oftentimes the credit card used to purchase something online isn’t actually the card’s owner but a thief. Riskified’s technology stands out among its competitors because they offer a 100% money-back guarantee in the event of fraud within 48 hours.  This is called a “chargeback” and it ensures that merchants are guaranteed a payback for any failure by Riskified to detect fraud due to unauthorized card usage or stolen financial information. The system uses behavioral analysis, elastic linking, proxy detection and machine learning to detect and prevent fraud and does so with 66% fewer false positives.

Founded in 2012, Fortscale has taken in $39 million in total funding to develop User & Entity Behavioral Analytics (UEBA) which identifies “internal threats” to your business using machine learning algorithms. For example, when that employee you let go decides to go download your client list onto a USB stick to take to your competitor, the system would identify this “unusual behavior”. The security engine can be deployed as a stand-alone solution optimized for security operations centers (SOCs) or natively embedded in security infrastructure solutions to improve risk analysis and decision-making. Here we see a dashboard which identifies risky employees:

In two infamous data theft cases – the 2013 Target data breach and Edward Snowden’s file leaks – Fortscale would have detected anomalies in the nature of the logins, since the accounts used by the attackers were not previously used to log into the systems being question. It’s no surprise to see that Fortscale counts Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) as an investor.

Founded in 2007, Leadspace has taken in a total of $35.7 million in funding to develop “predictive analytics applications for demand generation and account-based marketing.” Businesses that sell stuff to other businesses (also known as B2B sales) have large databases of clients, potential clients, leads, etc. all of which are stored in CRM platforms like Salesforce, Marketo, or Oracle Marketing Cloud. Leadspace integrates with all of these popular CRM platforms and uses artificial intelligence to help drive more pipeline and generate better quality leads. 7 of the 10 largest enterprise software companies use Leadspace so they must be doing something right. One marketing company called Marketo used their solution to ironically sell marketing software and had the following to say about Leadspace:

We’re not sure if it’s humanly possible to cram and more acronyms into such a short message, but the key takeaway here is that their SDRs ( Sales Development Reps) were 30% more productive by using Leadspace’s tool and sold more isht than before.

Founded in 2014, Twiggle was founded by former Googlers who have taken in $35 million in funding so far to develop “semantic search capabilities for eCommerce companies”. Investors include Alibaba, Yahoo! Japan (in other words, Softbank), and Naspers (the 7th largest Internet company in the world and the biggest company in Africa.) Twiggle’s Board of Directors counts Dr. Udi Manber, former head of search at Amazon, Yahoo, and Google, making us question what exactly we’ve been doing with our careers so far. Nowadays, online retailers are more focused on result rankings than on query understanding. Twiggle uses a groundbreaking semantic search technology that allows the consumers to describe the products that they are looking for using real human language such as: “smartphone with the best battery”, and actually receive relevant results.

According to an article by Tech Crunch, Twiggle has increased relevance and click-through rates on search results by up to 30% and conversion rates by around 20%. We tried searching for “vaporizer that lets us smoke weed in the bathroom at work undetected” and it sorted us right out.

Cybersecurity has been a hot topic lately, and our next company, Deep Instinct, is one that made it into our list of “6 AI Cybersecurity Startups Keeping You Safe.” Since that article, Deep Instinct took in a $32 million round of funding which included participation from none other than AI chip maker Nvidia. Since their founding in 2014 by a whole bunch of PhDs in Computer Science, this startup has been working on a machine learning solution built entirely from scratch, which the company claims is 70% faster than Google’s Tensorflow. They also claim to be the first company to apply deep learning to cybersecurity.

This next company made it into our list of “19 Internet of Things IoT Security Startups” and comes to the table with $25 million in funding from investors like Alibaba and General Electric (the Industrial Internet of Things stock). Founded in 2013, ThetaRay provides threat detection for unknown threats. In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, “there are known knowns and unknown unknowns” and it’s the latter that ThetaRay is focusing on with their “Hyper-Dimensional, Multi-Domain Big Data Analytics platform.” Here’s a diagram that only an MBA would pretend to understand:

Long story short, they’ll make sure that you don’t end up on the nightly news for some embarrassing data breach.

According to some guy named Maslow, food is pretty important. We recently wrote about “9 Agriculture Technology Startups to Keep You Fed” and one of those startups was Prospera Technologies (not to be confused with Plenty which took a massive funding round from Softbank recently). With $22 million in funding from investors that include Qualcomm and Cisco, Prospera has developed computer vision technologies that continuously monitor and analyze plant health, development and stress. Their technology captures climate and visual data from the field and provides actionable insights to growers via mobile and web. With up to 95% accurate yield predictions and 30% improvements in overall productivity, they now claim thousands of users, including produce growers for Walmart, Tesco, Sainbury’s, and Aldi.

We’ve recently written about more than 20 medical imaging startups, and one of those articles about “9 Artificial Intelligence Startups in Medical Imaging” featured Zebra Medical Vision which has taken in $20 million in funding so far and claims to have accumulated “one of the largest anonymized databases of medical imaging and clinical data available.” Even bigger than IBM we wonder? The reason that’s so important is because the best machine learning algorithms will be the ones that have access to the biggest number of delicious big data sets. This summer they announced the CE approval and subsequent release of their Deep Learning Analytics Engine in Europe, which currently analyzes CT data for signs of:

  • Fatty liver
  • Excess coronary calcium
  • Emphysema
  • Low bone density
  • Vertebral compression fractures

More than a dozen new algorithms that detect life threatening diseases will be released in the coming months.

While the startup we discussed earlier, Leadspace, focuses on B2B sales, this next startup has taken in $20 million in funding to focus on B2C (business-to-consumer) sales by “creating emotionally intelligent communications across multiple channels in realtime.” Sounds a whole lot like The Echo Chamber of AI and Online Marketing that we discussed recently, where each customer is subjected to “self-optimizing personalization.” According to a recent article by Digiday, lingerie maker Adore Me saw some spectacular results when using the platform:

Using Optimove’s technology, the company divided customers into 60-plus segments. As a result, Adore Me saw a 15 percent increase in monthly revenue from its data-driven campaigns, and a 22-percent increase in average order amount. Its yearly active customers doubled.

Over 250 “customer centric brands” (shouldn’t all brands be customer centric?) use tools like the “realtime journey builder” to actively engage current and future customers and make them open up their wallets.

Israel has the highest number of people with university degrees per capita, and given that her people have been shown to demonstrate intelligence at a genetic level, it’s no surprise that all of these smarts are a predictor of success when it comes to building companies. While the Israelis may be some of the smartest thinkers on the planet, that’s not a title they’re going to be holding on to for too much longer.

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