9 Israeli companies among 100 tech ’emerging market challengers’

CyberArk, Wix, OrCam, Monday.com among Israeli firms listed in Boston Consulting report; tech challengers are those ‘reinventing’ industries, charting paths to success

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative image of how technology and innovation can disrupt, change, whole industries (EtiAmmos; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of how technology and innovation can disrupt, change, whole industries (EtiAmmos; iStock by Getty Images)

Nine Israeli companies are listed among the 100 “tech challengers” that are leading the next generation of innovation in emerging markets, according to a report released Tuesday by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The nine Israeli firms are CyberArk, a cybersecurity firm; ad tech firm ironSource; Landa Digital Printing; Monday.com, a maker of workplace management platforms; OrCam, a maker of devices to assist the visually impaired; Payoneer, a payments processing firm; online gaming firm Playtika; SolarEdge Technologies, a maker of smart-energy solutions; and Wix, the maker of a popular website creator platform.

The Israeli firms are among the 100 companies from 14 countries from all major emerging market regions. The firms listed are active in multiple sectors, addressing both businesses and consumers. More than half of the tech challengers have already expanded beyond their home market, and 40 percent of these are active in developed markets, the report said.

“While tech companies from Africa, Asia, Israel, Latin America, Russia, Turkey, and the UAE have not yet achieved the global scale of Apple or Alibaba, they are bringing products and services to market, often in new ways, and growing fast in both size and number,” the report said.

“They are reinventing their industries and charting their own paths to scale and success. They are also gaining the attention of major industry incumbents, in the tech industry itself and in other industries, that must determine how best to deal with the rise of these new potential adversaries and allies.”

Nir Zohar, president and chief operating officer at Wix.com in his Tel Aviv office, November 29, 2017 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

BCG has been issuing the challengers report since 2006, and this year the firm focused on 100 tech challengers in emerging markets.

These challengers are companies “with the ambition and potential to reinvent and reshape the industries in which they operate,” the report said. “Their innovative advances, rapid growth, and expanding global positions merit close attention.”

While previous emerging-market tech leaders came predominantly from China, the current generation is much more geographically diverse, encompassing Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia, the report said. More than 10,000 tech companies have been founded in emerging markets since 2014, 47% of them outside China. Among emerging-market tech unicorns, or privately held companies valued at $1 billion or more, one-third hail from countries other than China.

Soccer legend Lionel Messi has agreed to be the face of the company, and lead a push to improve accessibility through OrCam’s devices (Courtesy)

The report lists 40 Chinese firms; 17 from India and South Asia; nine from Israel; eight from South Korea; eight from Southeast Asia; six from Central and South America; six from Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia; three from Africa; two from Turkey and one from the UAE.

The tech challengers have an average valuation of $6.3 billion, putting most of them well beyond unicorn status, the report said.

“Despite averaging $2 billion in revenues each, they are still growing at an average annual rate of almost 70%, six times the rate of the tech sector in developed markets. Gaming challengers are growing at almost 130% a year, 30 times the average rate of developed-market gaming companies,” the report said.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, tech firms have “done well overall,” showing increases in both users and usage. Some sectors, such as EdTech, gaming, and video streaming, have seen accelerated growth, capitalizing on changes in consumer habits, the report said.

“Tech challengers are formidable and disruptive competitors, willing to attack new sectors beyond their core businesses,” said Michael Meyer, BCG managing director and partner and report coauthor in the statement.

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