10 Israeli Female Tech Pioneers

by Claire Polansky

Hold up and take notice. The Israeli female tech pioneers are taking the reigns in the technology startup community and heading the women in tech revolution.

The lack of representation of women leaders in high-tech is on the brink of change in Israel. While women still make up only 30% of the workforce in high-tech, they are showing that they can keep up in tech and even surpass them.

Let’s highlight Israeli women who are paving the way for future female high tech entrepreneurs.

10 Israeli Female Tech Changemakers

 1. Dr. Orna Berry: Chief Scientist/Entrepreneur

Dr. Orna Berry is 68 year-old tech giant in Israel who can serve as a role model for women to come. She is the first and only female chief scientist and a high-tech entrepreneur. She has served on a range of high-profile boards, unusual for her gender, including Riverhead (acquired by Cisco), Lambda Crossing, and Prime Sense (acquired by Apple). In addition to her work, she has volunteered her time on the board for Kav Mashve Association, a non-profit that supports Arab academics and employment,  has advised patent committees and intellectual property policies, and has participated in Europe’s Women in Industrial Research (WIR)–just to name a few of her many activities of the years. She has won countless awards and has been voted as one of the most influential women in tech.

2. Ruth Polachek, Founder/Chairwoman

Geektime named the She Codes founder/chairwoman as one of the 100 most influential persons in the Israel Technology ecosystem. In addition, she was identified as one of Israel’s top 40 under 40 by The Marker, a business newspaper published by the Haaretz. She has expertise in Fintech, business strategy, data, mobile apps, and much more. She Codes sponsors events, and educational opportunities in order to advance women in the Israeli technology ecosystem. In addition, Ruth Polachek is the CEO/Cofounder of Fincheck, an online financial assistant that uses artificial intelligence and data science to help users manage their expense reports.

3. Hilla Ovil-Brenner, Cofounder/Mentor

Hilla Ovil-Brenner is a somewhat of a superpower for female entrepreneurs and women in tech. The serial entrepreneur heads the non-profit Yazamiyot so women can network and collaborate on their business initiatives. To date, it has over 1200 members.  Yazamiyot and Google merged resources for women on maternity leave and co-sponsor Campus TLV for Moms. This is the world’s first baby-friendly startup training ground for mothers on maternity leave. Her law degree helps her turn weaknesses into strengths. And she is pulling the next generation of female leaders up with her.

4. Maya Gura, CEO

Maya Gura is a social entrepreneur aimed at helping women with business opportunities. After supporting former sex workers, she had the vision to empower women. Hence she launched MissBeez in order to address the problem. MissBeez offers a platform for licensed, self-employed female beauty and lifestyle professionals to independently deliver their services to busy women. Women can download the app and connect to clients or providers on their phone. The women have control of their schedule and location. It just might be the dream app for women who care about their appearance but are too busy to run to the salon. And Geektime seems to think so. May Gura was selected as the 2017 CEO of the year.

5. Ruth Poliakine Baruchi, Founder/CEO

Ruth Poliakine Baruchi founded Mynd You in order to facilitate care for aging adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive impairments that need monitoring. The medical technology helps therapists and caregivers track changes in cognition through a web-based platform using artificial intelligence. This technology promises to be life-saving while giving aging people the dignity and independence that they deserve.

6. Daphna Nissenbaum, Cofounder/CEO

Like many Israelis, Daphna Nissenbaum began her career in tech in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). She developed her skills in the elite Mamran software engineering program. She moved up to Captain in the Israeli Navy’s software unit.  From there, she went on to hone her skills in computer science, economics, and business at the B.A. and M.A. level, which gave her leverage to head her own projects. She was the CEO of IDC Herzliya’s Caesarea Center for Capital Markets and Risk Management. But her biggest success is her sustainable packaging company, Tipa. She cofounded the company in order to address the problem with waste and excess packaging in the food industry. Tipa now develops biodegradable packages that decompose within 180 days. Tipa likens the products to an orange peel, which can return 100% to nature. In essence, she has helped modern society’s dependence on convenience to integrate back with nature. So it is not surprising that the company has won multiple awards.

7. Shelly Eisen-Livneh, Cofounder/CEO

Eisen-Livneh developed the dating app Aida as a mission to help people develop compatible relationships while playing together online first. Eisen-Livneh borrows the Japanese word Aida to describe “the unique space and time between two people – where the magic happens Aside from disrupting the dating app conventions, Eisen-Livneh challenges the status quo of women in tech. She did not let the lack of female investors and entrepreneurs stop her. Now she advocates pushing boundaries and mentoring others in order to address the lack of diversity in high-tech and entrepreneurship.

8. Dr. Michal Tsur, Cofounder/President

Dr. Michal Tsur aka the Iron Lady of Israeli startups is thought to be one of the most powerful women in Israel’s tech scene. She tells No Camels that she did not have any experience with coding when a peer approached her about entering the startup ecosystem in its infancy. What she had was a doctorate under her belt and the ability to understand the business needs of the tech world. She managed to find the magic potion of juggling motherhood with managing highly successful startup companies. She sold her online security firm Cyota for $145M and has equally raised millions of dollars for Kaltura, her co-founded open-source video platform.

9. Lital Leshem, Cofounder/Business

Lital Leshem is the director of business development and cofounder of Reporty Homeland Security, a rescue app that integrates video and location pinpointing for first response in emergencies. Citizens can use the app to communicate through live streaming in the event of an emergency and directly report incidents in real time. Israeli former Prime Minister Ehud Barak has invested in the app among other notable sources.

10. Kira Radinsky, Director of Data Scientist

Dr. Kira Radinsky is a prodigy with predictive probabilities that can not only boost sales but also save lives. She has developed predictive technology in order to predetermine catastrophes and epidemics, including Ebola outbreaks, riots, and genocide.In addition, she developed SalesPredict, which sold to eBay for $40M. It is not surprising that she has won many national and international awards including Forbes 10 under 30, 40 under 40 promising business people in Israel, and MIT Technology Review Innovators under 35 award— to name a few. Now just past 30, she is the Chief Scientist and Director of Data Science at eBay, a visiting professor at the Technion (her alma mater), and serves on the board of Israel Securities. We want to know one more thing about her, when does she sleep?

These women are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless women who head technology projects across Israel. They have developed everything from disruptive dating apps to female-oriented e-commerce to mobile data and security software. And much, much more.

So next time you see a woman, ask yourself “I wonder what ideas she has?”

Tell us what you think. Who are your favorite female entrepreneurs and why?

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Author: Claire Polansky

I am a Jill-of-all-trades marcom specialist and high tech autodidact. I stay upstream with the rapidly moving high tech scene by excessively reading anything and everything. When I am not reading or writing, you can find me with my dogs on the beach basking in the Mediterranean sun.

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