This year Tel Aviv was named the 2nd best high-tech center in the world . There are a lot of startups here, some of which, even I know little about. The birth and death of startups in general happens at an amazing pace, and it’s even more exciting and innovative in Israel, which was also declared one of the most innovative places on Earth. I will begin by saying that despite the list I have compiled here, there are many more startups that have the potential to make it big in 2013, but I would like to  focus on the ones that you should keep an eye on for sure. Startups that started their journey only earlier this year and for which, the future shines bright.

Let’s get right to it, I’ll lay out the list, and then explain each of my choices below:

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Bazaart

When I met the Bazaart team a year ago, they walked  me through the concept of creating stylized collages utilizing pins on Pinterest. At first, I wasn’t so sure it was something people would use. But let me say this now: People are definitely going to use this. First, the process of creating a collage from your own pins offers one of a hell of an user-experience, and the outcome is superb! Secondly, it is the best way to showcase your pins, all together, in one visual element. You can still see pins individually when flipping through a collage  (or like this on the web), repin individual elements, or restyle the whole thing. Next I gather, Bazaart should add the ability to buy items right from their app, but right now, it’s all about mixing and styling everything on the web – And, it is a pure fun. I also noticed that throughout the whole process, Bazaart considered the users’ experience first, which is always great and mutually rewarding. Bazaart launched in the App Store in August, and since then, over 4K collages have been created solely through organic marketing, not a penny was spent. For me, this fandom is a testament which  speaks for itself.

bazaart The most promising Israeli startups for 2013

Flayvr

photo 311 220x330 The most promising Israeli startups for 2013The reason I’m a believer in Flayvr is because I’m a person who takes tons of pictures daily, and every time I visit Flayvr, all of these moments that I have captured are organized in a way that I can enjoy and remember them. It’s a magical App, also a very important one, as we, all, are so busy with our lives, it is great to have an App that can make it easier to locate any memory you choose to from hundreds and thousands of photos.

I asked Ron Levi, CEO of Flyavr, what the future holds for Flayvr. This was his answer:

Flayvr is becoming the only alternative to a default photo gallery and we’re adding some features soon to support this, including further editing capabilities and the creation of new Flayvr albums from scratch. We’ve also made changes to its web view and Facebook sharing lately.

So far, over 1.5M photos and videos have been viewed and shared via flayvr.

Our biggest updates over the next few months will be:

  • Adding a social layer that will allow viewing, following, commenting and liking from within the app
  • The much anticipated Android version which is in the oven and includes some cool surprises
  • Continued enhancements to the web experience.

Stevie

The first thing to love about Stevie is that the service works across major platforms, which is always good. Now, I’m not a big fan of having streams suggested to me, in most cases I want to read, watch and listen to whatever I choose myself, not what some editor or algorithm proposes. With Stevie, I actually liked that I can play its music stream on the iPad and place it next to my laptop while I’m working. Surprisingly, it played some great suggestions by my friends, and I got to see updates from time to time without the need to be on Facebook. I still have some issues with its design, which I will tell you openly, I’m not crazy about. It looks a bit old fashioned but in spite of this, I found myself using it again and again and that what’s important.

I asked Yael Givon, CEO of Stevie, what the future holds for Stevie, and this was her answer:

Even more platforms are coming to Stevie: Android, xBox, Samsung Smart TV and more.

In terms of content – lots more channels are to be added and a way to create you own channels really quickly (and an API), customization on the interface (which celebs, which artists, etc.,) but mainly much more customization and personalization in the background.

We’ve learned a lot this last year and already have some Stevie addicts that are helping us make Stevie better, most changes and improvements will be around customization and a deeper understanding of the viewer and their needs.

In terms of design – what we have now is just the start. Channels are going to get unique treatment that will be right for the content they present, so much more variation in design and many new tricks and treats when showing social content, photos and more.

We plan to close deals, and are already in conversations with major cable providers and cellular networks to provide them with awesome content channels that include viewers’ personal social experience. We believe that Stevie will be a very good reason for viewers to want an internet connected TV in their future…

I would also love to see the remote App on my iPhone work with my iPad.

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TinyTap

The reason why I started iPad4kids was to separate the good apps available for children from the bad ones. TinyTap is definitely a good one. This app is not just for kids but for their parents as well, and might be the only App at the App Store that allows people the ability to create their own games, and then sell them through the TinyTap marketplace and through the App Store itself. When selling a game, publishers get 70% or the profit, and they can either publish it on TinyTap market for free (Tinytap only needs to approve it) or publish it on the Appstore for $200.

In Nov. 2012, TinyTap raised $500,000 in seed funding from Micro-Venture Capital Inimiti.

Here’s an example of a game made with TinyTap platform on the Appstore platform – I Love A.B.C (you can download it free for iPad) BTW, this game was released on the 22nd (last Saturday) and it already has over 3,640 downloads!

Make sure to also download the Christmas game (free) on the TinyTap marketplace, it is absolutely wonderful:

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24me

24me, the Next Generation Personal Assistant, launched two months ago, on the AppStore. It automatically generates daily tasks for users, based on their lives. Each task has a “completion button” to help the user execute the task easily from within 24me.

24me notifies users about their financials, service providers, friends’ special events, and other errands. It can also take care of tasks for users, organizing their lives: It can pay bills and even send gifts for friends’ birthdays. If a user inserts a task, 24me helps to find someone to run that task for him. Due to a successful partnership with TaskRabbit, 24me can automatically find someone to run errand for the user.

There are more than 56,000 users that have downloaded the app. Additionally, just in the last two months alone, 3.5 Million tasks have been added to 24me by its users.

The main thing that is coming up for the service is an Android version and in the coming months ahead, 24me is going to extend the automation offered to users to other aspects of daily life.

The service launched at Techono.me Conference in October of this year.

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EatWith

When I first heard the concept of EatWith, it blew my mind. It immediately makes one think why on earth hasn’t this been around for ages already? EatWith offers every user, a global community that lets one enjoy an authentic and intimate dining experience in someone’s home when traveling to a new (or familiar place). Anyone can host a meal at their own house, and cook their own food. I guess an easier way to explain how it works is like Airbnb: you can either be a host, or a person that wants to be invited to dinner. The beauty is in the exploration of all the different cultures at hand. Let’s say you want to travel to Italy and eat a homemade cooked meal at someone’s house, like a local, now you can.

I loved this idea because food brings people together, and it’s a source of happiness, so only great things can happen from this kind of service.

I’m not sure what the next steps hold for them though as they have just started, but I’m sure it will be huge success, if people from all parts of the world are willing to give it a go and join as hosts. I personally would love to see it fly this year, and moreover, I would love to find an authentic place to eat, anywhere in the world. Now, how great it would be?

For more information, go to the EatWith blog.

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PowToon

It’s been awhile since we saw a new player in the presentation area. Ever since Prezi (which I adore), no application has swept me of my feet, nor have I seen any innovation in regards of presentations from other online services that have been around for awhile either. PowToon actually makes a difference with its unusual animation concept and very good execution. You don’t need to be a designer to create a presentation that will wow your friends or colleagues.

I do have a problem with its business model though. I don’t think PowToon values that what they need most right now is users. Tons of users. Last time I checked, I saw more than 5,000 videos on YouTube created with PowToon. However, if they allowed users to create short movies for free, that number would be through the roof. First of all, users hate limitations. If you give something for free, let it be free all the way. You can limit the video time, but don’t limit basic features as well. I think the pricing overall is confusing, and I would love to see them make that simple. Moreover, I know PowToon raised money recently, it will be great to see some flexibility coming from the service, and now is the time to make this push forward and see those numbers surge.

Disclaimer: I worked with PowToon for a short period of time, so I can also add, that they have some really talented people working there. In any case, PowToon is on the list because it is probably the most interesting player to disrupt this space this year. I’m hoping to see an iPad version soon, as well as a less cluttered dashboard page is also on my wishlist.

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HeyStack

HeyStack hasn’t launched just yet, but it has already won Techono.me for it’s innovative dating idea. The App will help people discover friends of friends and offer a great of toolset to enjoy time together with new friends.

I asked Shai Wolkomir CEO of HeyStack, when is the app due in the Appstore:

After techono.me ,we received a great deal of interest in our product from consumers (massive enrollment to our beta service), partners and investors.

In the last 60 days, we have been testing our solution in alpha/beta stags for value, UI/UX and scale (which is the main game here for us, as our product works constantly behind stage : indexing, analyzing, etc.,), the massive beta enrollment helped us reach a vast engaging crowd at this stage without going fully public.

As we are nearing our initial product/market fit, our app will go live in the appstore in the next 20 days.

The reason why I choose HeyStack for this list, regardless of its Techono.me winning title, is first, its awesome UI, and secondly, the innovative features within the App, are features I haven’t seen in a dating app before, such as: VOIP, Text Messaging, Music video sharing, and more.

EventWith

I am a big fan of event-related services and can’t wait for someone to change something in this arena, so obviously, I was very happy to hear about EventWith. The service allows users to create events and assign their friends (from Facebook, or contact list) the tasks within the event.

Now, I love this twist: users can set a budget and split tasks as well as the split the budget between all guests – a true collaboration. Actual collection and exchange of funds takes place offline between event organizers and guests.

There are 3 budgeting methods:
Guest indicates the amount they paid: Each guest enters the amount they have paid for various items.
Divided evenly among guests (per event) – The budget is split evenly among guests.
Divided evenly among guests (per guest) – The budget is split evenly among guests.

Once a budget is set, payment details for each guest can be viewed in the Event Checklist.

I loved everything about this website, the idea is great and needed, the interface is great, and the user experience within the platform was absolutely wonderful. This startup journey has just started, but I’m sure it will be an interesting ride for them.

Sentinel

Traditional Antivirus technology has proven ineffective in the light of these new, ever evolving threats, and the price tag of cybercrime has risen to an all time high level. A New cure is desperately in need.

Sentinel is a cyber-defense startup founded by 3 ex-checkpoint employees, aimed to build the next generation of antivirus software, that would help organisations and individuals to be protected from advanced, targeted and even unknown threats on their PCs and mobile devices. The technology uses real time detection mechanisms to detect any suspicious behavior on your device, preventing malicious code from running on it and cause damage.The start up is a part of the next class of Upwest Labs, and I would suggest to keep an eye on this one.

Image: Uriel Sinai/Stringer / Getty Images