‘Top Nine’ Israeli Instagram app hits #1 in US

“Top Nine” got its start in the U.S., but Natanzon later moved  to Israel. “The Israeli startup ecosystem helped us a lot,” he says.

By Lauren Izso, The Algemeiner

From classmates and coworkers to the Kardashians, many Instagram users wrapped up 2019 with a three-by-three grid collage of their most popular posts from the year, using an app based in Tel Aviv and developed by an Israeli.

“Top Nine” — available for download as a third-party application to the popular picture-posting social media platform — has gone viral and now holds the #1 spot in both the U.S. and UK app stores. It is also available on Google Play.

“I’m super proud to say that an Israeli app made it to the #1 spot,” Kevin Natanzon, founder of Beta Labs, told The Algemeiner.

According to Natanzon, “Top Nine” is the first Israeli app to have reached #1 since “Waze,” the popular driving navigation aid acquired by Google in 2013. It now has 130 million monthly users globally.

The “Top Nine” app launched in 2015 and eventually became a viral sensation, also taking the top spot in the U.S. app store on New Year’s Day 2019. Additionally, according to a live count on the company website, more than 9.5 million “Top Nine” posts were generated throughout 2019.

While “Top Nine” got its start in the U.S., Natanzon later made “aliyah” (immigrated to Israel), moving to Tel Aviv, and he said this was largely the reason for the app’s growth and success.

“The Israeli startup ecosystem helped us a lot,” he noted.

Since Instagram does not offer a similar feature, “Top Nine” allows users to create a year-in-review at no cost, and with no watermark, making it especially attractive to social media posters.

While “Top Nine” is a temporary trend hitting viral numbers mainly around the end of the year, the company behind the app, Beta Labs, has other programs in development stages, as well as some already on the market that may sound familiar, like “Truth or Dare,” a popular party game.

Natanzon said his main objective now was expansion. “I don’t think we would be as successful if it wasn’t for the people I met this year,” he stated. “I would love to learn more about the people and the ecosystem. Hiring in Tel Aviv is our #1 priority.”