unicornEveryone in Israel's tech scene is hunting unicorns -- not the mythical creatures, but startups valued at $1 billion or more. A recent report by Business Insider describes the red-hot scene and how it is affecting Israeli entrepreneurs:
  • Everyone is dreaming of becoming the next unicorn. Instead of selling their startups for $1 million to $30 million, founders are turning down multimillion acquisition offers, wanting to build big companies.
  • 2015 is a record-breaker for VC funding in Israel. For the first half in 2015, 342 local companies attracted $2.1 billion, up from 334 companies nabbing $1.6 billion in the first half of 2014.
  • The private-equity bankers have arrived in droves to Herzeliya, including Blackstone, SilverLake, KKR, Apax Partners, TPG, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley -- and they're wielding huge checks.
  • Chinese investors are swarming the country, joining Israeli VC funds as limited partners, as well as doing a lot of huge, direct investments into startups, too. Founder of investment platform OurCrowd Jon Medved said that if Israel does $4 billion in venture capital in 2015, $500 million of it could be from China.
The craziness started when Google dropped a cool $1 billion for Waze in 2013. Other Israeli startup unicorns include the marketing platforms Taboola and Outbrain, software delivery system IronSource, and app developers Como. Public tech companies worth $1 billion include collision-avoidance tech providers MobileEye, enterprise security firm CyberArk, and web development platform Wix. When will the first fintech unicorn rear its head in Israel?