This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
Fans of hummus, the Middle Eastern chickpea-based dip, as well as fans of Israeli tech, have something to celebrate Wednesday when “International Hummus Day” is held around the world.
Don’t bother looking up the day on a calendar, though. Hummus Day is an invention of Israeli start-up entrepreneur Ben Lang, CEO of MapMe.com. To celebrate the day, the site has produced an international hummus map, showing exactly where fans can get their hummus fix in Israel, the US, Canada, the UK, and even India. “We opened up the map on Monday night, and in the space of less than 24 hours we got over 20,000 hits,” said Lang. “Hummus is clearly an international favorite.”
That it was an Israeli entrepreneur – albeit an immigrant from the US – who came up with the map is a testimony to both the popularity of the dish in Israel and to the technological prowess of Israelis. Lang, now 21, immigrated to Israel when he was 18, and recently completed a stint in the IDF. Before joining the army, he developed MappedInIsrael, a site that displays a map of the thousands of start-ups throughout the country. More than just a map, though, the site provides contact information for companies, who can list their open jobs on the site as well. The jobs, said Lang, are “real” ones – since they are posted by the companies – and the site is free to use.
So successful was MappedInIsrael that Lang and several partners decided to take the tech he developed to build the site for a mapping platform, called MapMe.com. The platform is still in beta, but has proven extremely popular with all sorts of people. “We have over 100 maps in 30 countries showing where people can find vegan restaurants, bitcoin cash machines, Ukraine start-ups, and many more. We’ve gotten hundreds of applications for access, and in the coming months we expect to be able to open the platform for all users.”
The maps themselves are built by community members interested in the topic – for example, vegan restaurant patrons in New York City would add locations to the map – under the curation of a community member. “We don’t manage the maps; we just provide the platform,” said Lang.
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Photos: Jaliker/ Screenshot