1 start up – $10m sales – 1billion valuation: Possible?

Most people have never heard of Mobileye, a Jerusalem company specializing in Advanced driver Assisted Systems, yet some forecasts predict a value of more than one billion dollars for it, marking yet another stunning Israeli success story.

Thus wrote one of Israel’s leading economic newspapers this week, “The Calcalist“.

Mobileye appears to be living the dream of many an entrepreneur. It was started back in 1998 by a relatively unknown Jerusalem university professor, Amnon Sha’ashua. Although the r&d section of the company is located in a hightech zone relatively nearby, many of the 200 employees can be found in offices overseas; Holland, Cyprus, Japan and the USA.

What’s so special? Well Mobileye has a developed a system that will assist drivers in avoiding car crashes. It’s Advanced Warning System (AWS) has already allowed the company to lock in future contracts with an impressive list of manufacturing giants: Peugeot, Citroen, BMW, Volvo, GM, Ford, Honda and several more.

The immediate financial figures do not make for impressive reading. Sales of around barely US$10m for a quarter. Negative financial cash flow in 2012. However, 2013 onwards should see healthy bonuses and dividends for all concerned.

Mobileye will probably need a further round of investment to secure a global marketing platform. That consideration immediately raises the question of company valuation. For the moment, depending on who you ask, the estimates vary. That said, one quote comfortably tops the US$1 billion mark.

That must be a very cool feeling for a specific enterprising university lecturer.

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