1. Payoneer


Payoneer logo
Who are they?

Payoneer is an Israel-headquartered cross-border payments platform. Founded in 2005, it has since opened offices in 17 locations across the world, including in Hong Kong, India, UK, and Spain.

The company employs 1,200 people. To date, Payoneer has raised $245 million, and some of its investors include China’s largest insurer, Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd., Menlo Park-based private equity firm TCV, and Beijing-based CBC Capital.

Payoneer provides digital payment services to platforms such as Airbnb, Amazon, Upwork, and Getty Images.

What do they do?

Payoneer’s online money transfer and digital payment services enable users to pay and receive funds worldwide via several methods, including credit and debit cards, electronic wallets and bank transfers. The platform supports over 150 currencies in more than 200 countries.

Payoneer’s platform gives freelancers and small businesses a direct way to get paid for their work, without having to use any third-party services.

Opening a Payoneer account is free of charge, can be done anywhere in the world, and usually takes just a few business days.

After the account is verified, the user will be sent an ATM debit card which can be used to withdraw funds from any ATM machine that accepts Mastercard, with no local bank account required. If the user does have a bank account, they can also retrieve the funds through a bank transfer.

Why are they great?

The ever-increasing availability of 3G and 4G internet connection has made taking up global freelance work more accessible to people living in developing economies where meaningful career opportunities might be in short supply.

According to Eyal Moldovan, the general manager of Payoneer, the company is witnessing “a growing number of newcomers that are joining this ecosystem and tapping into opportunities.”

However, the technologies that enable cross-border payments have not kept pace, which left many freelancers struggling with high bank fees and prevented them from pursuing assignments beyond the confines of national borders.

Payoneer came up with a system that enables freelancers and small business owners around the globe to succeed in their profession and make a living where they are without the need to relocate abroad. So far, it has served over 4 million customers.

2. BlueVine


Who are they?

BlueVine was set up in 2013. It offers small and medium-sized businesses in the US access to fast credit.

The company is headquartered in Redwood City, has an office in Jersey City, and a development center in Tel Aviv. It employs about 270 people.

Eyal Lifshitz, the founder and CEO, is no stranger to the ins and outs of running a small business—both his grandfather and his father were small business owners.

What do they do?

Through its online platform, the company offers access to business credit through three products: line of credit, term loans, and invoice factoring.

The application process for any of the products is simple and offers near-immediate results. For instance, approval time for BlueVine’s term loan and on-demand line of credit can be as short as 10 minutes.

The company’s pioneer online invoice factoring services offer factoring lines of up to $5 million, available at a day’s notice.

Why are they great?

According to a study by JP Morgan Chase, half of small businesses in the US have enough cash to support only 27 days of their usual outflows. As a result, many are forced to take out bank loans to maintain their operations beyond that point.

Since it was founded six years ago, BlueVine has provided small and medium-sized businesses with access to $2 billion in financing.

BlueVine uses sophisticated technology to simplify the delivery of financing products. It makes credit available to small businesses that wouldn’t be eligible for it in traditional, brick-and-mortar banks.

Lifshitz decided to call his company BlueVine because a vine is a growing plant, and he wanted his business to help others grow. The color blue symbolizes financial services and credibility.

In Lifshitz’s own words, the company’s mission is to help others “succeed and thrive.”

3. OurCrowd


Ourcrowd logo
Who are they?

OurCrowd, which has been branded “Israel’s most active venture investor,” was launched in 2013 by Jon Medved, a veteran entrepreneur and one of the country’s leading venture capitalists.

A global investment platform and leader in equity crowdfunding, the Jerusalem-based company has raised over $1 billion and invested in 170 portfolio companies and 18 funds.

Its community is made up of almost 30,000 accredited investors from more than 150 countries.

In 2018 alone, the platform raised about $400 million and invested in 80 companies. As of August 2018, OurCrowd was the most active fund in Israel.

What do they do?

OurCrowd is a crowdfunding platform which collects and displays open investments in global startups and companies in a number of different sectors, from technology and cyber security to agriculture and healthcare. Alongside its accredited investors, OurCrowd also invests own capital in every venture.

The company employs subject matter experts who review companies through due diligence checks and discussions. Then, they select opportunities to share with OurCrowd’s community of investors. Many of the selected startups work to help solve the world’s most pressing questions, such as climate change or the use of artificial intelligence.

OurCrowd makes relatively small investments, but its extensive network of accredited investors and the diversity of the initiatives it works with make it a key player on the Israeli venture capital scene.

Why are they great?

According to Jon Medved, OurCrowd’s Founder, the venture capital industry has been operating more or less the same way for the past half a century. Even though it has had a disruptive and transformative effect on other industries, it’s remained virtually unchanged itself.

Medved set up the fintech to “rejuvenate this sector and make it a little more democratic.” He had realized that many investors were chiefly interested in how they could invest small to moderate sums in the Israeli high-tech startups, and decided to create a platform that would enable them to do just that.

OurCrowd organises conferences and events all over the world that attract thousands and enable networking between CEOs and investors.

Medved’s energy and passion is a key driving force behind the company. “I’m addicted to deals, and I get energy from it. When you sit in front of young investors every day, who tell you their dreams and you can help them realize those dreams, it’s like endorphins,” he said.

4. Fundbox


Fundbox logo
Who are they?

Fundbox is an online lender that provides loans, revolving lines of credit, and invoice financing for small businesses based in the US.

Fundbox was co-founded by Eyal Shinar, Yuval Ariav, and Tomer Michaeli. After seeing his mother, who ran a small business, struggle with unpaid invoices, Shinar realized there was a gap in the market and decided to set up a business of his own that would address it.

The company was set up in 2013 and has since served over 70,000 customers. It has raised over $100 million in capital from leading Silicon Valley investors such as Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Spark Capital.

What do they do?

Fundbox’s own research revealed that the average small or medium business in the US is owed $84,000 in outstanding invoices. The company aims to help these businesses maintain cash flow as they wait for the overdue payments to come in.

Fundbox analyzes its customer’s accounting data to determine the right credit line, then pays the outstanding invoices selected by the business. They can then be repaid over 12 or 24 weeks. Its system is integrated with the most popular accounting software, including QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and PayPal.

Fundbox also provides credit lines that take an average of 3 minutes to approve and arrive in the customer’s bank account as soon as the next business day.

Why are they great?

Following the 2008 financial crisis, many traditional banks reduced lending to small and medium-sized businesses to limit risk. As a result, many such companies struggled to access credit.

Fundbox’s founders realized that standard procedures for evaluating small businesses’ eligibility for credit no longer served the requirements of the fast-changing nature of the market.

They came up with the Small Business Graph—a simplified process to provide financing to small businesses that wouldn’t be eligible for it elsewhere. This process helps Fundbox gain a real-time, holistic view of its clients by mapping and analyzing their relationships with their own customers, suppliers, and partners.

This formula has helped Fundbox achieve less than 1% loss rate on its loan products.

“We have a history of companies trying to copycat our product, but this is pretty unique,” Shinar said. “It is impossible to copycat if you didn’t spend the last four years building the capabilities.”

In 2018, Fundbox won the prestigious Israeli Atlas Award for Best Fintech Start-Up.

5. Lemonade


Lemonade logo
Who are they?

Lemonade is a property insurance company that uses high-tech solutions to give quotes and evaluate claims instantly. It’s available to homeowners and renters in 23 US states.

The fintech raised $300 million in a recent funding round, and it’s currently valued at more than $2 billion.

It was set up in 2015 by Israelis Daniel Schreiber, the former President of Powermat, and Shai Wininger, the Co-founder of Fiverr.

What do they do?

Lemonade offers affordable property insurance, with rates starting from as little as $5 per month for renters and $25 for homeowners.

The process of applying for a policy is quick and simple. It consists of a chatbot called Maya taking the users through a series of questions to help them tailor their coverage to suit their unique needs. Any changes to the policy can be made through the Lemonade app and take effect immediately.

The company operates a simple and transparent pricing model: it takes a flat fee, and the T&Cs are clearly explained every step of the way.

Why are they great?

The traditional property insurance sector has for long been characterized by entrenched, outdated policies and an inherent conflict of interest between the insurers and their customers. Lemonade has been able to disrupt the market with its hassle-free, innovative approach, and its use of high-tech solutions such as machine learning.

The Lemonade customer experience is primarily app-based, but it’s also accessible through its easy-to-navigate website.

The entire process of requesting a quote, signing up, and filing claims has been streamlined to be as straightforward, intuitive, and transparent as possible.

But what really sets Lemonade apart from the competition is not a sleek mobile app or millennial-friendly marketing, but its unique business model. The company retains a quarter of insurance premium to cover administrative costs and potential profits. The remaining 75% is spent on customer claims, reinsurance, and any taxes or fees. Any leftover funds are donated to a charity of the policyholder’s choice.

That means that Lemonade has no interest in rejecting or delaying legitimate claims. In fact, the company reviews claims instantly and pays out a quarter of them in less than three seconds.

Lemonade is also A-rated, fully regulated, and reinsured by giants such as Lloyds of London.

Final thoughts

The above is merely an introduction to the vibrant Israeli fintech scene.

The whole sector is undergoing a rapid transformation worldwide and, with increased investor funding, there is a lot to look forward to.

If you’d like to find out more about this up-and-coming industry, why not have a look at our previous pieces?

Here at STX Next, we’re passionate about helping fintech companies achieve their goals. Take a look at some of the clients we have worked with so far.

And if you run a fintech business, we would love to hear from you.