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50 Leading Companies of the Year 2017

Discover and Treasure Your Unique Family History: MyHeritage

thesiliconreview-gilad-japhet-ceo-myheritage-17“Our platform and DNA kits make it easy for anyone, anywhere to embark on a meaningful journey into their past and treasure their family stories for generations to come.”

Diversity is the way of life. The world is so distinct and unique, with millions of living beings that we can’t help but be in awe of it. Humans are no different. Sui generis nature of humans is what makes us so beautiful; both inside and out. And the Michelangelo of this diversity is our genes.

Genes are responsible for all the characteristics you inherit from your parents and ancestors. An analysis of genes or DNA can unlock untold possibilities. Ranging from one’s ethnic background to historical family connections to long-lost relatives. World history is the proof that humans moved from their original homes due to war, invasions, disasters or simply to find a better life. Now with the advancement of technology, one can piece together his/ her origin and understand their life and family better. Headquartered in Israel but with Offices in Utah, Toronto and Europe. MyHeritage is the leading global destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. The firm’s powerful technology does the searching for you, revealing fascinating new details about your family history.

MyHeritage was founded to enable “anyone” to engage in the rich and rewarding investigation of their own family histories. From the beginning, the company drew on the digital resources of the Internet and demonstrated the value of a global product. The global reach of the company helps members discover more about their families and their heritage, given the migrations of people over generations.

MyHeritage: Reinventing the Way Families Explore Their Past

MyHeritage was founded in 2003 by Gilad Japhet. When Gilad was in high school, he did a project on his family tree. Researching his family and tracing them through his ancestors, sparked Gilad’s love for genealogy and family history. This passion led to the inception of MyHeritage as a humble garage startup, which has now grown into a global company with 92 million users around the world. With offices in Israel, North America, and Europe, MyHeritage is guided by its core values of innovation, compassion, and diversity to deliver an exceptional user experience in over 40 languages.

MyHeritage began as a small startup – in a field with an already established competitor. Even though the firm didn’t yet have a large database, the team made sure that its service and its technology beat the competition. MyHeritage first expanded the scope of its family tree building software – from a downloaded program to millions of online family trees, it eventually added billions of histori­cal records that shed light on family members named therein, as well as the eras in which they lived. More recently in 2016, MyHeritage made the logical jump into DNA testing for genealogical results and has reunited more family members than ever.

The firm faced the challenge to educate the public about the broad appeal of researching one’s family history and to demonstrate how the internet vastly improves the potential of the field. Once a couple of angel investors came on board, and able to explode its product, others signed on as well. MyHeritage moved from a “free” product to a “freemium” model earning profit for the service offered.

Empowering and Amazing Folks around the Globe

We all have an innate want to know where we are from. The fact that MyHeritage caters to that human interest with cutting-edge technology that enables users to discover family matches quickly, to connect with millions of family trees around the world, to access the forefront of science with DNA testing, accounts for why customers choose MyHeritage.

MyHeritage excels in no small part thanks to the personalities of those at its helm – from the CEO on down. Commitment to excellence in general, and the intelligence and drive to follow through, have been key to its success. Furthermore, the company’s Chief Officer of Content, Russ Wilding introduced historical records to MyHeritage, which now stands at over eight billion. He changed the landscape of the research opportunities the firm could offer. Similarly, Dr. Yaniv Erlich, Chief Science Officer of MyHeritage is leading company efforts into DNA testing which has also proven a game-changer for the company.

MyHeritage’s Pro Bono Spirit: Working for the Greater Good

MyHeritage is driven by its mission to do good. Gilad invests his own time in various pro bono initiatives, utilizing the technologies and network he’s built at MyHeritage for the greater good. The company is involved in various pro bono works which include:

Tribal Quest: Documenting the family histories of tribal people for future generations

One of the most exciting, brave and noble pursuits of MyHeritage, this is a pro bono project for documenting the family stories of tribal communities around the world. The company is helping tribes who have no access to technology, to preserve their family history for their future generations.

The company has funded an expedition consisting of a MyHeritage team, to spend time for few weeks with the indigenous tribes in various parts of the world, to collect the family history of these tribes, build their family tree and collect memories of their culture. Their culture is at risk of being lostforever and the idea is to collect, preserve and share the unique cultures of these tribes. The team has documented the family structures of several far-flung communities, in Namibia, Papua New Guinea, and Siberia.

Restitution of Looted Assets

MyHeritage discovered heirs for unclaimed assets confiscated during WWII and returned looted art to its rightful owners. The company has traced hundreds of heirs of stolen properties or looted artworks and has provided them an opportunity to reclaim their family's property.

Digitizing Cemeteries

MyHeritage launched a global initiative together with BillionGraves to digitally preserve the world’s cemeteries because of the key role that gravestones play in family history and in society in general.

The secret of Ereikoussa

MyHeritage has conducted extensive research on the island of Corfu in Greece. Its highlight was the reunion of the descendants of a Jewish family hidden during WWII on Ereikoussa, a tiny island north of Corfu, and descendants of the courageous Greek Islanders who risked their lives to save this family.

Soaked in Tears of Happiness, Families Thank MyHeritage

“Thanks to your site I finally was able to unlock the mystery! It has been a great revelation to find so many family members after so many years."

- A. Horst, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

“I can’t tell you what it means to finally meet my brother after 65 years and find that I also have a wonderful, large family as a bonus. Finding my family gives me peace of mind that I am not alone.”

- Izak Szewelewicz, Canada

“I have found my family and was finally able to get the closure that I so needed through MyHeritage and their research partner Legacy Tree Genealogists. MyHeritage DNA Matching is amazing because you get a breakdown of your ethnicity that is clear and easy to understand.”

- Susie W., Papua New Guinea

Meet the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ of Genealogy

Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO: MyHeritage is the brainchild of Gilad, an experienced genealogist, whose entrepreneurial vision and passion for family history grew MyHeritage from a garage startup to a global leader, with millions of users. He has been the driving force behind the MyHeritage mission of making family history accessible to all with a range of award-winning products. He has led MyHeritage through significant acquisitions and the forging of partnerships with industry peers.

"We empower people in understanding who they are and where they come from, in addition to bringing a sense of belonging."