Where are 2019's most promising startups now?

Ido Susan,  Hillel Kobrinsky / Photo: Uri Alon, Globes

"Globes" looks at the fortunes of the ten most promising startups it chose last December.

2020 has been a strange year by any standards and the ten most promising startups that "Globes" selected last December have had to cope with unexpected twists and turns. When the Covid-19 crisis struck in full force in March, it looked like the startups would have to lay-off employees, try and raise money in unfavorable circumstances and maybe even change course. But as it turned out, the startups were able to surmount the obstacles, get back on track, and even prosper.

No sooner had the year begun, when IoT security company Armis (fourth place) announced on January 7 that it was being acquired by venture capital fund Insight Partners for $1.1 billion. It was an unusual model for an exit being acquired by a venture capital fund. In effect it was a large secondary deal with the founders and employees realizing some of their shares and the company continues to operate independently.

Armis was forced to develop a product that could be installed remotely and after a weak second quarter, activities recovered and they are set to end 2020 more or less realizing their original forecasts.

Last year's top ranked startup of the year was DriveNets, which has developed cloud software for communications networks infrastructure. DriveNets, founded by CEO Ido Susan and chief strategy officer Hillel Kobrinsky also had to find alternative ways for installing its solutions on customer's networks. But the company enjoyed high demand from the start because of the changing ways in which Internet networks were being used - the shift to home working and studying made existing networks inefficient because they were built on the major part of capacity being within the office.

DriveNets made it possible to manage networks more flexibly and communication companies understood that this solution was needed by them. DriveNets also announced during 2020 that the core network of AT&T would be based on its technology.

Last year's most promising startup runner-up JoyTunes, which has developed an app for learning the piano, also benefitted from the Covid-19 crisis from the very start. By April, JoyTunes had surpassed its annual target and in a June interview with "Globes" CEO Yuval Kaminka said, "Coronavirus uncovered something that in fact we knew that people really want to learn." It's clear that they will invest less time when they return to routine, he added, but somebody who has discovered that they love to do something will invest more time afterwards.

Third placed Fabric also benefitted from the pandemic. The company builds urban supply chains for retail in city center warehouses operated by robots. Fabric said the company enjoys high demand but operations are still in the relatively early stages although it has opened its first warehouse in New York.

Fifth placed Verbit, which develops technology for automatic transcripts and captioning, raised $60 million last month, to bring the total it has raised to $126 million and said that revenue has risen 400% over the past year.

Sixth placed Trigo, which develops technology allowing stores to dispense with checkout tills, said that it has met its targets in 2020 despite Covid-19, despite the shift in purchases from brick and mortar stores to online, in part because people are reluctant to wait in link at checkout because of the need to social distance.

Seventh placed Papaya Global, which has developed a payroll and payments automation platform, completed a $40 million financing round and has raised $95 million since it was founded.

Eighth placed Logz.io, which has developed an open code based data analysis system for programmers that can identify errors, raised $23 million, after raising $52 million in 2019, and has raised a total of $120 million.

Ninth placed Wiliot, which has developed a battery-free Bluetooth chip, has also enjoyed heightened interest during the Covid-19 crisis because of the increased amount of deliveries and the need to track the consignments that are sent. Medical deliveries for example require tracking to ensure that chilled temperatures are maintained.

Tenth placed Duality Technologies, which has developed technology for analysis of encrypted data, said that it continues to grow and has imposed no layoffs or salary cuts.

The Startup of the Year rankings are part of the annual Enterprise Technology Summit held by "Globes" and JP Morgan.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 7, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Ido Susan,  Hillel Kobrinsky / Photo: Uri Alon, Globes
Ido Susan, Hillel Kobrinsky / Photo: Uri Alon, Globes
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