Jonah Balfour

Israel’s Unadvertised Success in Adtech

Israel is a true epicenter for advertising technology with companies spanning across all areas of the industry such as Outbrain to “anti-adtech” companies like Shine
Illustrative: A long exposure photograph of traffic on the Ayalon Highway through Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (Esther Rubyan/Flash 90)
Illustrative: A long exposure photograph of traffic on the Ayalon Highway through Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (Esther Rubyan/Flash 90)

It’s well known that Israel is a powerhouse of innovation. Startups from all industries are changing the game in their respective spheres, whether it’s medical technology, software, image recognition technology, or many others.

Less talked about in the mainstream media and the public, yet no less important to the Startup Nation, is advertising technology, or as it’s commonly known, adtech. Israel is a true epicenter for adtech with companies spanning across all areas of the industry such as Outbrain to “anti-adtech” companies like Shine.

This industry often flies under the radar and doesn’t generate the same kinds of headlines as more consumer facing companies like Waze, Viber, or MobileEye. Yet, the power of the industry can’t be underestimated and represents a major sector for Israel’s wider tech ecosystem.

Here are just three companies that are making a unique mark on Israel’s adtech industry:

Credit: Derzsi Elekes Andor, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
Credit: Derzsi Elekes Andor, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0


Sekindo, bought by advertising giant, Universal McCann, is a digital platform for online video, display, and mobile advertising. As video becomes the most used way of absorbing media, Sekindo’s speciality in video advertising sets it apart from other agencies. By using its in-house technology and complex algorithms, rather than using another company’s’ existing technology, Sekindo creates a more natural form of advertising.

The hardest issue when advertising a product is to find a platform to publish it on. It’s difficult to figure out the correct sizing for videos, which publisher will give the most impressions, the timing, target audience, and so much more. Sekindo makes this step super easy by using its programmatic advertising and algorithms to match publishers with advertisers and help them figure out which is the best fit. It also makes videos automatically fitted for both mobile and online formats, plus they are matched to be different types of video formats, whether they are pre-roll (like the ads you see before YouTube videos) or banners.

Under the wing of Universal McCann, and with their new office in New York, Sekindo is definitely heating up the adtech space.

Shine Technologies

Shine Technologies certainly stands far apart from the other companies on this list, and would more accurately be labeled as an anti-adtech company by many observers in the industry. But the company is having a profound impact on the adtech space here, mostly in ways that challenge the business models of other adtech companies.

Shine says its mission is to protect consumers from malicious mobile ads. It’s objective is not to eliminate mobile advertising, which is often interesting and beneficial to customers, but to give customers more control, choice, and greater transparency over what they receive.

Shine differs from other ad blocking technologies by preventing ads from being served to mobile users by blocking ads across cellular networks. Its goal is to deliver a better, more targeted and more transparent mobile ad experience to customers.

The company also caused quite a stir when it announced that it had signed a deal with a major mobile provider a few months ago.


Probably one of the most well known adtech companies in Israel, Outbrain, recommends content on some of the largest websites such as CNN, Washington Post, and ESPN. It aims to drive better results for businesses by capturing target audience’s attention. It uses behavioral targeting to recommend articles, slideshows, blog posts, photos or videos to a reader. The sites with the recommended articles pay Outbrain for this service, and Outbrain pays the site on which the links appear.

The content-recommendation platform is on an exponential rise as it has bought out several adtech companies and has received millions in funding, totalling the funds raised since 2006 to almost $200 million. Outbrain is sure to keep gaining momentum.

No matter which side of the adtech fence these companies are on, one thing is certain: Israel is a hot bed of adtech innovation that is changing the way media is absorbed. Who will win this battle though? The advertisers or the ad blockers?

About the Author
Jonah Balfour is an avid fan of technology, Apple, and Israel. He has worked with some of the hottest Israeli startups and is an evangelist for the Israeli tech industry as a whole.
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