The State of Crowdsourcing: 5 Israeli Companies Leading the Crowdsourcing Space

With the largest concentration of start-ups per head, Israel’s burgeoning economy hosts almost one thousand new firms each year. Among these, crowd-sourcing companies have gained a significant level of growth and maturity.

Crowd-sourcing involves getting a large group of people to help with a task traditionally performed by one employee or contractor, essentially outsourcing a crowd for their services. This can include anything from community members reporting local traffic jams, feedback on the best craft beers in town, to funding a personal or business project.

Startups in Israel turn to crowd-sourcing to harness the power of the community using advanced social media technology and information on crowd behavior. In doing so, they shorten the time to market new products and uncover ways to cut costs. Let’s take a look at the top 5 Israeli companies leading the crowd-sourcing arena.

1. Waze

GPS navigation with community updates on recent accidents, traffic updates, speed traps, and more.

Waze differs from your typical GPS navigation software in that it gathers map data and traffic information from its users. The Waze community can report accidents, speed traps, and traffic jams as well as update roads, cheapest gas stations, etc. Waze started out as a community project by Ehud Shabtai in 2006. Since then, Google acquired the app for $1.3 billion in 2013, and as a part of the deal, Waze’s 100 employees each received an average of $1.2 million, marking the largest payout to employees in the history of Israeli high tech. Today Waze boasts over 50 million users from at least 13 different countries worldwide.

2. Mapme   

Crowd-sourced maps of local communities

Founded in late 2014 by Israeli entrepreneurs, Ben Lang, Amir Zucker, and Philippe Lang, Mapme provides organizations with a crowd-sourced, interactive map that users can update with places of interests, anywhere from the best restaurants in town to innovative startups. These community-based maps are built and managed by different organizations who are able to embed the platform on their websites.

The company provides tools to make their platform as engaging as possible with a “map feed”, ratings, reviews and an email digest. Hundreds of organizations around the world are using the platform with topics ranging from top coffee places to the LGBT community in London.

3. Moovit

Connecting the community with local public transportation information and GPS navigation

Moovit connects the community with real-time local public transit information and GPS navigation for buses, trolleys, trams and trains, subways, rapid transportation (metro/subways/underground), and ferries. The app includes line arrivals, updated line schedules, local station maps, service alerts, and travel advisories. Users can share information about travel time, delays, overcrowding, satisfaction with the driver, and Wi-Fi availability. Moovit then integrates the data into the app which delivers updated transit schedules. Founded in Israel in 2012, the app is now available in over 500 cities worldwide.
4. OurCrowd

Online equity crowdfunding platform for early-stage startups

OurCrowd founder Jonathan Medved had the inspiration to start an online equity crowdfunding platform in 2012 to help finance the thousands of startups in the county. Based in Jerusalem, OurCrowd provides crowd-funding software for accredited investors to provide venture capital funding to early-stage startups. Investments are pooled together with a minimum commitment of $10,000.  In a few short years, OurCrowd has made it possible for 10,000 individuals to invest over $160 million in 80 companies, with more on the way.

5. BillGuard
Monitors bank and credit card activity with identity theft protection services

Founded in New York City by Israeli entrepreneurs Yaron Samid and Raphael Ouzan, BillGuard tracks bank and credit card activity, cross-referencing all charges with those flagged by community members as illegitimate. In 2015, the company partnered with credit services firm Experian to offer identity theft insurance policies. As of October 2014, BillGuard flagged over $60 million suspect charges on behalf of its users, drawing from over $1 billion of monitored transactions.

Crowdsourcing enables companies to look outside the office walls for new ideas and resources.  Businesses can collaborate and integrate knowledge from people all over the world and unlock a limitless collective intelligence. This means even a small country like Israel can lead the way in innovation within a competitive global market.