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3 of the top 10 Israeli startups chosen by Wired UK magazine are Maverick portfolio companies


Tel Aviv’s startup scene underwent a transformation around 2019, moving from a system of “Holy Grail exits,” as Eli David, CEO of StartUp Link, puts it, to “building companies not looking to sell to Google right away.”


As has always been the case, the military is still the main source of founders—not least because almost everyone passes through it, but also for its emphasis on problem-solving and a focus on cybersecurity, AI, and robotics. There’s growth in Web3, gaming, and productivity startups while countries like India are coming online as customers. “We have a brain-drain problem”, admits Michel Abadi, managing partner of Maverick Ventures Israel. “But we have a lot of patience.”


LUSIX

LUSIX produces lab-grown diamonds for the gemstone market and industrial applications in its solar powered lab. The company has raised $135 million—with LVMH Luxury Ventures leading the company’s recent $90 million round, intended to fund expansion of its production capacity in Israel with a second 100 percent solar-powered facility coming online this summer. The company was founded in 2016 as a spinout from the digital printing company Landa, by physicist Yossi Yayon and entrepreneur Benny Landa. “The lab-grown diamond journey is barely beginning, and has been embraced by consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z,” says Landa. lusix.com



Better Juice

Better Juice uses enzymes from microorganisms to convert sugar in fruit juice into nondigestible fiber, claiming to reduce up to 80 percent of all sugars in juice. Founded in 2018 by Eran Blachinsky at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, it has received $8 million in seed funding led by iAngels with Food Tech Lab and The Kitchen Hub. Blachinsky says his process does not affect the smell or taste of the juice, although it does reduce the sweetness. Manufacturers can tailor the processes to select the amount of sugar they would like to remove. The recent round will fund other product lines, such as ice cream, soft drinks, and jam. better-juice.com



Tevel

“Farmers all over the world are struggling with recruiting fruit pickers, a situation that puts the whole industry at risk,” says Tevel founder Yaniv Maor. The company has raised $32.1 million, most recently from agriculture equipment manufacturers including Japan’s Kubota and China’s Forbon, for its fleet of drones for performing picking, thinning, and pruning tasks in orchards. A single unit consists of a wheeled vehicle with four quadcopter drones electrically tethered to the vehicle and equipped with a meter-long mechanical claw and AI-powered eyes that can differentiate between fruits and assess their size and ripeness. The company plans a commercial rollout in southern Europe in late 2022. tevel-tech.com


Yaniv Maor, founder of Tevel. PHOTOGRAPH: JONATHAN BLOOM


ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY WIRED