Tel Aviv's Waze makes the list

The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail has named Tel Aviv one of the world’s most creative cities. Tel Aviv shared the honors with London Sydney, Stockholm and Shanghai. The article itself is a whopping 21 pages; Israel takes up the first four.

The “award,” if you can call it that,” was bestowed on Israel by the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto. The institute ranks cities but what it calls “The Three T’s” – technology, talent and tolerance.

The article focuses on several Israeli startups which have either raised a lot of money or been sold for even larger amounts. The authors (there are five of them) pointed to PicApp and PicScout, which sold for a combined $20 million to Indian and American buyers, respectively; cellular company Provigent which was snapped up by U.S. chip maker Broadcom for $313 million; and Snaptu which Google bought for $70 million.

Companies on the list that have raised significant funding include (over $5.5 million) which makes face recognition technology that is used by more than 30,000 developers, and Waze, which we covered in-depth in Israel21c. Waze was singled out for both the amount raised ($67 million) and number of users (8 million in 45 countries).

Waze makes a free crowd-sourced GPS navigator app for mobile devices; the company claims it is used by one out of every three Israeli drivers. Waze made headlines overseas this past summer when it was used to provide real-time traffic information during the Los Angeles area’s super-hyped “Carmegeddon” (a driving apocalypse precipitated by the weekend shut down of the city’s major freeway).

Why is Tel Aviv so creative when it comes to startups? The authors cite Israel’s mandatory military service and the resulting informal atmosphere. Says starup CDO Neal Naimer from Woojer, “In Israel, personal relationships aren’t all that relevant to business. Israelis will do business with you within five seconds of meeting you. In fact, there’s virtually no small talk at meetings. Nothing. Zero. They’re very direct.”

Read our coverage on Waze here.