Walking down the streets of Jerusalem, it’s not uncommon to see the occasional herd of goats. In Tel Aviv, that would more likely be a flock of unicorns – 45 in total.
Unicorn, in tech-talk, is a private company with a valuation of $1 billion or more. Tel Aviv added 30 new unicorns in 2021.
That was just one of the fascinating factoids in the Tel Aviv Tech Ecosystem Report published this month to launch Tel Aviv Tech, a new initiative to deepen and strengthen the city’s tech sector.
Here are some of the top take-aways from the report:
• Tel Aviv is home to 2,812 tech companies and 135 multinational R&D centers. That’s 32% of all the tech companies in Israel. If you expand into the greater Tel Aviv metropolis, some 59% of all tech companies in Israel are located in what’s referred to in Hebrew as the merkaz (the center).
• Those companies raised $20 billion in 2021. Twenty had initial public offerings in 2021, five times more than in 2020. All told, they employ more than 150,000 workers.
• In addition to IPOs, there were 91 exits among Tel Aviv tech firms, totaling nearly $10 billion, in 2021.
• The number of unicorns more than doubled from 2020’s figure of 14. Unicorns were most highly represented in the fintech, cybersecurity and IoT fields. Tel Aviv’s 45 unicorns comprised more than half of the country’s grand total of 68.
• Forty-nine percent of companies were startups, 43% were pre-scale (focusing on initial growth) and 8% were scaleups (where an emphasis on revenue, with a minimum of $10 million a year and double-digit growth).
• The scaleup category grew the most, seeing a year-over-year increase of 42%. Even more significant: Scaleup companies now employ some 77% of Tel Aviv’s tech workforce.
• Sixty-two Tel Aviv tech companies were acquired in 2021 – including 26 by US companies and 16 by other Israeli firms.
• Artificial intelligence was the top core technology among the firms, at 29% of all companies. Machine learning, SaaS and big data followed at 14%, 10% and 8% respectively.
• Twenty new multinational firms from 16 countries opened offices in Tel Aviv in 2021. There is a total of multinational 443 R&D centers in Israel.
• The $20 billion in capital raised in 2021 was a nearly tenfold jump from 2017’s figure of $2.4 billion. Scaleup companies received 72% of the total capital for the year.
• Foreign capital has long played an important role; in 2021, $15 billion from investors outside Israel was pumped into Israeli startups – some 78% of total investment dollars.