Outbrain named most promising start up

As reported in Globes:

Blog content rating and recommendation company Outbrain Ltd. was today named the promising start-up for 2011 at the “Globes” and Ernst & Young Journey 2011 Conference in Tel Aviv today. Conduit Ltd. is the runner-up.

Outbrain CEO Yaron Galai and CTO Ori Lahav founded the company in 2006. It has raised $26 million to date from Gemini Israel Funds, Carmel Ventures, GlenRock Israel, Rhodium, Lightspeed Ventures, and private investors. The company has 40 employees.

Asked what Outbrain does, Galai told “Globes”, “Historically, we totally focused on creating content recommendations on system content sites. The pipeline for consuming this product was content sites. The company has moved on and now we sell our recommendations engine to content site owners and we’re expanding to other markets.

“We don’t normally talk about future products, but we can say that the pipeline includes a recommendations engine for more content, not just text.”

Galai added, “In the near future, it won’t matter what device you use to read content. For example, Outbrain will provide Fox News with monetization and navigation tools for the different versions of the sites on all platforms. On one hand, we want to offer readers the best content recommendations, while enabling publishers to get all their products to consumers on the other.”

This year’s second-placed start up, Conduit, is a network of web and mobile app publishers. Chairman and CEO Ronen Shilo founded the company in 2005. It has raised $9.8 million to date from private investors and has 300 employees.

Shilo told “Globes”, “We must insist that we are not a start-up.” The company’s numbers appear to back him up.

Conduit’s power is reflected in reports about it company value. One recent report claimed that it was in talks to be sold at a value of $1 billion – a report that Shilo was quick to deny in an internal e-mail to employees. Asked about a possible sale, he told “Globes”, “We’re working on just one thing – to continue building the company. A sale is not on the agenda.”

The next eight most promising start-ups for 2011 are flash storage solutions developer Anobit Ltd.; Andromeda Biotech Ltd., which is developing a treatment for autoimmune diabetes; interactive video advertising platform developer Innovid Ltd.; portable video-over-cellular backpack solutions developer LiveU Ltd.; digital advertising optimizer Matomy Media Group Ltd.; mobile advertising and marketing solutions developer Inneractive Ltd.; Angioslide Ltd., which has developer an embolic capture angioplasty – a balloon catheter that removes debris to prevent embolisms; and, in tenth place, English language grammar checker developer Ginger Software Ltd.

The “Globes” 2010 most promising start-up, Provigent, was acquired in March by Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM) for $330 million.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on November 2, 2011

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