The 2010s marked a historic decade for the Israeli economy, with exports soaring 160% amid expanding international trade and the Start-Up Nation cementing its global leadership as an innovator in cybersecurity, automotive technology, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and more.
As a new IVC-Meitar report shows, the past decade also saw an impressive surge in Israeli high-tech exits, as investors and multinational corporations sought to capitalize on the country’s technological prowess and world-renowned innovation ecosystem. According to the report, 2019 saw 138 exits totaling $21.74 billion, compared to 89 deals totaling $2.631 billion in 2010 – an 800% increase in exit value.
Over the course of the decade, there were 1,210 deals totaling $111.29 billion. Those included 15 exits valued at least $1 billion, with 12 of those deals occurring from 2015 to 2019 – underscoring the growing maturity of the Israeli high-tech scene in the latter half of the decade.
Intel’s $15.3 billion acquisition of automotive vision pioneer Mobileye in 2017 was the decade’s most valuable exit, followed by Nvidia’s 2019 acquisition of chipmaker Mellanox Technologies Ltd. for $6.9 billion and Cisco’s purchase of video technology company Synamedia (later acquired by Permira) for $5 billion in 2012.
Google’s 2013 acquisition of Waze for $1.196 billion also marked a milestone exit. It was one of Google’s 12 acquisitions of Israeli companies during the 2010s, with deals totaling $1.77 billion. The top acquiring companies included Intel, which purchased 10 companies for $17.72 billion; Cisco, which paid $6.088 billion for four companies; Medtronic, which paid $3.42 billion for six companies; and Salesforce, which acquired six companies for $2.286 billion. Also among the major corporations to acquire Israeli startups were Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Qualcomm, Amazon, Oracle, Facebook, and many more.
Examining exits by sector, the report found that IT and enterprise software accounted for the largest share, by both total deals and value. From 2015 to 2019, there were 217 deals in the sector totaling $21.919 billion. The life sciences sector saw $9 billion in exits across 98 deals, followed by the internet sector’s $8.22 billion in exits across 145 deals.
The high-tech ecosystem’s maturation is also evident when delving into exits by vertical. AI exits climbed from $349 million across 10 deals in 2015 to $4.119 billion across 30 deals in 2019. Cyber exits reached $3.451 billion across 23 deals in 2019, compared to 18 deals totaling $1.06 billion in 2015. Meanwhile, fintech exits increased from 13 deals totaling $1.069 billion in 2015 to 14 deals valued at $2.031 billion in 2019.
Fittingly, the decade closed on a high note. 2019 saw a record 55 exits over $20 million and 26 exits over $100 million. With the 2020s set to witness transformative change in cloud computing, AI, automotive innovation, cybersecurity, and much more, the Start-Up Nation is well-poised to celebrate new records in the decade to come.