A strong Israeli showing at a major cybersecurity conference in San Francisco last week highlighted Israeli innovation in the field, as well as the country’s ever-increasing focus on collaborating with Silicon Valley.
Some two dozen Israeli firms met with potential partners and investors Feb. 25 at the Israel Cyber Security Showcase, a first-time event hosted by Israel’s Economic Mission to the West Coast, which recently moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
The showcase was held in conjunction with the annual RSA Conference, which brought tens of thousands of top-level cybersecurity professionals to Moscone Center for four days.
Israeli companies at the showcase, held all day at the W Hotel, explained that it was important for them to be given a public platform to show off their products and talk with potential investors.
“It’s unique,” said Avi Shavit, head of the Homeland Security department for the Office of the Israeli Chief Scientist. “It’s the first of its kind for Israeli cybersecurity. It’s important for them to be here.”
Representatives from Wells Fargo Bank, Lockheed Martin, Cisco and other multinational corporations roamed the event, speaking with the Israeli entrepreneurs.
“As good as our Israeli innovation is, without international cooperation, without strategic partners, it can’t come to market,” said Yoav Tzruya of Jerusalem Venture Partners, Israel’s largest early stage cybersecurity investor.
The showcase culminated with the announcement that a startup from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev won JVP’s first cybersecurity competition. Titanium Core will receive a $1 million investment and space in Beersheva’s new JVP Cyber Labs, Israel’s first government-backed early stage incubator focusing on cybersecurity and data protection. Shavit said his office will add an additional 3 million shekels (about $800,000) to the award.
Titanium Core utilizes a multilayered security approach to repel attacks on mission-critical systems, provide real-time attack information and prevent threats from moving onto other computer systems. The company was founded by professor Yuval Elovici, director of Telkom Innovation Laboratories at BGU; Dudu Mimran, former CTO of Deutsche Telekom Labs in Israel; and BGU Ph.D. student Mordechai Guri.
Thirty-five cybersecurity startups submitted their business plans to the competition in fields ranging from zero day attacks to cellular fraud, advanced persistent threats and encryption.
Along with JVP partners and analysts, judges of the contests were top executives from GE, Cisco, Microsoft, EMC-RSA and Lockheed Martin.
“We are super impressed with the potential some of these companies represent,” said Chandra McMahon, a vice president at Lockheed Martin IT Systems and one of the contest judges. “We see [in them] an ability to look at a problem differently.”
Bret Hartman, a security expert at Cisco Systems and another contest judge, said he recently visited Israel and was “blown away by the cybersecurity innovations going on there.” — sue fishkoff