Tech Buzz: StarkWare become a unicorn, Justt comes out of stealth mode

Israeli start-ups have raised more than $21.5b. so far this year.

 Overwolf's team. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Overwolf's team.
(photo credit: Courtesy)

It was another busy week in the Start-Up Nation, with more than $400 million raised and one new company becoming a unicorn valued at $2 billion.

Israeli start-ups have raised more than $21.5b. so far this year.

Overwolf announced a $75m. Series D round, led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The all-in-one platform that enables creators to build, share, and monetize in-game apps and mods said the funding will be used to strengthen and grow the in-game creator ecosystem primarily through CurseForge Core, a “UGC as a Service” solution that enables game studios, IP owners and in-game creators to prosper with game creations. More than 87,000 creators use the Overwolf framework for products used by 20m. gamers monthly, the 12-year-old company said.

Tel Aviv-based Justt came out of stealth mode, raising $70m. in funding to help global merchants fight false chargebacks with smart technology. Justt has experienced rapid growth in the last 11 months, with annual recurring revenue (ARR) growing 20% month-over-month and headcount increasing more than 25-fold to more than 110 employees. Chargeback fraud costs merchants more than $125b. in lost revenues and comprises 86% of all reversed transactions. Justt’s AI-powered solution allows it to effortlessly flag incorrect chargebacks, the company said.

Nexar, an AI computer vision company, closed a $53m. Series D funding round led by Qumra Capital. Nexar works with crowd-sourced visual data from hundreds of thousands of dashcams across the US and globally, second only to Tesla for the volume of image-data collected. The six-year-old company now has its “eyes” on 150 million miles of road every month, it said.

 Justt's founders. (credit: Courtesy) Justt's founders. (credit: Courtesy)

EasySend, a no-code digital customer journey platform, announced a $50.5m. Series B funding round led by Oak HC/FT. Founded in 2016, EasySend’s platform makes it easy for enterprises and SMEs to build and launch customer applications, onboarding questionnaires and claims forms. The funding will accelerate EasySend’s growth in the US and other geographic regions as well as support expansion into new verticals and product use cases. The company has raised $71.5m. in total.

StarkWare, which develops solutions for blockchain technology, raised $50m. in a Series C funding round led by Sequoia Capital. The deal was valued at $2b., making the four-year-old Netanya-based company Israel’s newest member of the unicorn club. The company raised $75m. just seven months ago, for a total of $161m. raised.

StarkWare's founders. (credit: Courtesy)StarkWare's founders. (credit: Courtesy)

Ramat Gan-based Workiz secured a $40m. Series C investment led by Lead Edge Capital. Founded in 2015 by veteran locksmiths, Workiz is used by home service companies to plan and keep track of jobs, schedules, payments and more. The company has raised over $60m. in total and was named one of the fastest-growing companies in America in 2021. Workiz, which has over 80 employees, will use the funds to scale its operations while recruiting more talent and growing its customer base.

Anyword, an AI-based language optimization platform transforming how marketers tailor their messages to their customers across all channels, announced $21m. in new funding led by Innovation Endeavors, bringing the total raised to more than $30m. The eight-year-old company has more than 1,000 customers with headquarters in New York and Israel. Anyword will use the new funding to fuel hiring efforts, continue building out its proprietary AI technology and onboard more marketing customers to the platform, the company said.

BIT, WHICH makes open-source tools and cloud platform for components, raised $25m. in Series B funding led by New York-based global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners. The investment will help Bit further expand its offering and empower developers and organizations to build component-driven software. The Tel Aviv-based company has raised $36m. to date.

Cymbio, a marketplace and dropship automation platform based in Tel Aviv, raised a $20m. Series B financing round led by Corner Ventures. The seven-year-old company already works with brands such as New Balance, Authentic Brands Group and Steve Madden, and thousands of retailers, marketplaces and department stores like Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Farfetch, Urban Outfitters, Kroger, Walmart and Zappos.

Imagindairy, a FoodTech company creating milk proteins identical to those from cows, completed a $13m. seed round led by MoreVC. The Ashdod-based company hopes to leave the cow out of the dairy equation, allowing manufacturers to offer cow-free, sustainable milk and dairy products with all the nutritional values of dairy milk. Imagindairy is currently collaborating with a number of dairy companies, offering a complete range of dairy-free proteins.

Speedb, a Tel Aviv start-up whose data engine is designed to provide faster performance at scale, raised $4m. from Hyperwise Ventures for its official launch. The company also announced a partnership with real-time data platform leader Redis as an option to improve performance for more than 8,000 customers.

On the acquisition scene, Nova Measuring Instruments acquired ancosys GmbH, a privately  held German provider of chemical analysis and metrology solutions for semiconductor manufacturing. The all-cash transaction was valued at approximately $100m., including a performance-based earnout of $10m. Nova’s shares on the Nasdaq market rose about 6% on the news.

Bizzabo, which powers online and in-person event experiences,  acquired Klik, a Montreal-based event tech start-up that has deployed smart wearables at live events. The value of the deal was not provided, but it was estimated at above $10m. The acquisition, Bizzabo’s fourth in six months, enables Bizzabo to bring new onsite hardware and software expertise in-house as a core product and service.

In venture fund news, Fort Ross Ventures, an international firm historically focused on start-ups in the US and Israel, announced the $100m. first closing of its Late-Stage Fund, with a total target of up to $200m. The fund is focused on investing in the Series D+ rounds of industry-leading companies with the potential to conduct an IPO or strategic sales within two to three years. The fund said it is also adding Europe to its target geography.

JAL Ventures announced the closing of JAL II, a $105m. second fund. JAL focuses on post-Seed and Series A rounds and invests in early revenue stage Israeli technology companies.  The fund has already made five investments in B2B start-ups, some of which have raised follow-up rounds at significantly higher valuations. LPs in JAL II include Israeli Institutional investors, international financial institutions and family offices.