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California Houses The Most Israeli-Founded Unicorns

With 22 such companies, unicorns run the gamut from fintech to insurance disruptors.

Five privately held Israeli-founded companies in California have reached or surpassed a $1 billion valuation in 2021, boosting the state’s nation-leading unicorn count to 22, according to the United States – Israel Business Alliance (USIBA).

Each has at least one Israeli founder and maintains its global or U.S. headquarters in California.

“California continues to attract many of the best and brightest innovators in the world,” USIBA president Aaron Kaplowitz said. “We’re seeing today a new generation of Israeli entrepreneurs contribute to northern California’s innovation ecosystem and benefit from a deep bench of venture capitalists.”

New York hosts 21 Israel-founded unicorns.

The Israeli unicorns in California are all located in Silicon Valley except for Orca Security, a cybersecurity firm for cloud-based assets. In March, the Los Angeles-based company, with R&D in Tel Aviv, closed a $210 million round at a $1.2 billion valuation.

The JCC in Palo Alto, California held an Israeli Independence Day celebration in Hebrew aimed at the vibrant Israeli community in Silicon Valley on May 9, 2019. (Saul Bromberger/JCC Palo Alto)

Eight Israeli-founded unicorns are headquarter in San Francisco, the most of any American city, aside from New York.

Deel, with its office near Oracle Park, is the most recent addition to the prestigious group. Recently, the payroll and compliance fintech startup announced the completion of a $156 million funding round, driving its valuation to $1.25 billion. Deel has raised $206 million total in the past 11 months.

Less than a mile away, ironSource, an app monetization and distribution pioneer, recently revealed its plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The agreement with Thoma Bravo Advantage surges the company’s value to $11.1 billion.

Palo Alto, also in Silicon Valley, now has seven Israeli-founded unicorns. These include insurance disrupters Hippo ($5 billion) and Next Insurance ($4 billion) as well as Wiz, which closed a $130 million round on March 22 and claims to be the fastest-growing cloud security startup ever, having achieved a $1.7 billion valuation only three months since emerging from stealth.

Mountain View is on the letterhead of Rapyd ($2.5 billion), SentinelOne ($3.1 billion) and Redis Labs ($2 billion).

San Mateo-based Tipalti (the Hebrew word for “I took care of it”) has grown its accounts payable and global remittance automation solutions into an enterprise valued at $2 billion.

Dremio, a big-data curating engine ($1 billion), and Innoviz ($1.4 billion), a LiDAR manufacturer, maintain headquarters in Santa Clara.

“Silicon Valley lives by the ‘move fast and break things’ mantra,” Kaplowitz said. “The Israelis, of course, have a word for that: chutzpah.”

(Edited by Fern Siegel and Bryan Wilkes)