Running a startup is never easy; uncertain economic climates, fierce competition and finding a niche are among the many challenges startups face. With just the right balance of hard work, innovative thinking, and, in many cases, great technology, however, startups across the country are enjoying booming business.
Some of those startups have international roots. Lately, the U.S. has seen a surge in Israeli tech startups experiencing wild success by bringing their companies to American soil. Let's look at a few standout ones, ranging from early-stage to highly-funded, below:
After disrupting the car service market and becoming one of the most popular apps in Israel, Gett (known globally as GetTaxi) expanded to the U.K. and Russia, and then the U.S. in August 2013. In the face of aggressive competition from Uber and other car apps, Gett boasted a $100 million run rate and more than a million users as of December 2013.
The company also serves approximately 1,500 enterprise clients, such as Google. The company's best-in-class technology, 24/7 customer support and flat pricing structure have been hailed as groundbreaking and disruptive.
iOS and Android games, such as Angry Birds and Tiny Wings, have become smash hits, and mobile gaming has become a lucrative sub-genre of the gaming industry overall. Many of these games are single player, however, and lack the networks to support a truly multiplayer experience. Nextpeer has risen to meet this challenge with its mobile multiplayer network, allowing users to run, shoot and compete with one another in real-time.
Established in 2011, Nextpeer's business has exploded in a very short time. With more than 50 million downloads on the iOS platform and a rapidly expanding Android market, Nextpeer supports thousands of developers. Further, games with Nextpeer integration have topped the Apple Store download charts in both the U.S. and Europe.
One of the most common problems facing app developers is monetization. StartApp addresses this problem directly, offering clients a host of products to solve their mobile monetization woes. Launched in 2011, StartApp has enjoyed huge success. In January 2014, the company announced it had been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times, with more than 70,000 app embeds and 200 million daily ad impressions.
The Israeli startup reports big things lined up for near future. Currently available only on Android, StartApp has revealed plans to launch on iOS "very soon" and will also allow app developers to sign up directly through the website, increasing ease and saving valuable time.
Marketing teams rely on strong data analytics to advertise in the right places at the best times to the ideal audience. Kontera analyzes what people see, read and like across the Internet to provide their clients with such data.
Where Kontera differentiates itself from competitors, however, is the emphasis it places on its content intelligence data and brand insights. Business is booming for the young startup, as top news outlets such as the New York Times, USA Today, and Bloomberg TV have asked Kontera to provide information regarding brand performance in 2013. The company has raised around $40 million in funding.
Video has become an increasingly popular way to share content on the web, and Kaltura offers an open-source video management platform that media companies, enterprises and educational institutions can use to publish, stream, monetize, analyze and store videos online.
With more than $100 million in venture funding, 300,000 clients -- including heavy hitters such as HBO, TMZ, UPenn, Bank of America and Texas Instruments -- Kaltura has been touted as "the future of online video" and potentially "a billion dollar unicorn."
Complying with government and industry security regulations can be daunting for IT professionals, and ObserveIT aims to ease this challenge and keep users' information safe. The software is, in effect, a virtual security camera with the ability to monitor the activity of all users and third-party apps on clients' websites. ObserveIT removes the need to "crawl through system logs" or deduce the cause of a network change; the answer is already available on the ObserveIT platform.
This startup has enjoyed an incredibly successful youth, raising $20 million in its first round of funding and growing 3,500 percent in the last five years. ObserveIT software solutions are available in more than 800 corporations in 75 countries.
Another Israeli startup enjoying breakthrough success in the U.S. is Taboola, a content recommendation platform serving three billion daily article and video recommendations to more than 300 million monthly users. The company is at a $100 million revenue run-rate and claims to have the best revenue-per-employee rate in the industry.
In an effort to differentiate, the company unleashed Taboola Choice and some other tools last year that democratize the content recommendation process by giving increasing control to end-users. With clients like TIME, BBC, Huffington Post and New York Times, Taboola seems to be on a roll.
8. Surgical Theatre:
Pilots use flight simulators to learn how to fly a plane, and with Surgical Theatre, neurosurgeons can plan brain surgery with the same technology. This groundbreaking software allows surgeons to perform a "test flight" or practice run through of a surgery on the simulator before ever touching a patient. The virtual tissue responds to stimuli just as real tissue would, allowing doctors to prepare to develop a game plan for the live procedure.
The Surgical Theatre software received FDA approval in 2013, and has since been used (or has been in talks to be used) in more than 200 surgical cases. Clients and prospective future clients include leading research and teaching hospitals such as MAYO Clinic, UCLA, Mount Sinai NY and Case Medical Center. Surgeons have reported the software to be a unique planning tool for their complex cases.
Kaminario K2 is the only true scale-out ALL Flash array in commercial production. They are in the fourth generation of their product with hundreds of customers across industries running their products reliably on K2. Clients such as Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Sandisk are among the Fortune 2000 companies to utilize the scalable array.
Kaminario has enjoyed huge growth since their 2010 launch, and the company's consistent performance and price are recognized by two SPC (Storage Performance Council) World Records in bandwidth and IO performance.
Tipalti is a SaaS platform that directly addresses the difficulty companies have making mass payments to vendors across the globe.
From collecting payment paperwork such as W9 forms to generating 1099/1046 reports to insuring tax and anti-terrorism regulations are met, Tipalti streamlines the payment process from start to finish, saving e-commerce, ad/affiliate network, and other companies as much as 50 percent of the time it would normally take to pay numerous vendors at once.
Tipalti has raised more than $3 million in funding from Oren Zeev (investor in Audible, Chegg, and Houzz).
Raising more than $1.1 million during its angel funding round, this startup has designed a scrapbooking app aimed at parents with young children. It is difficult to keep every piece of artwork, award, or report card your child brings home. Keepy offers a mobile scrapbooking solution, allowing parents to upload, tag, and store their children's treasures digitally forever rather than pile them in a drawer or closet.
In its first month after launching last year, Keepy attracted more than 50,000 users.
The last several years have seen many startups take advantage of the changing landscape of technology to offer creative solutions to new problems. The number of Israeli businesses among them is a testament to the plethora of groundbreaking tech coming out of the country.
Follow Zev Gotkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ZevGotkin