Israeli rail cybersecurity co Cylus raises $12m

Amir Levintal Photo: Cylus

The company's investors include former Austrian Chancellor and former Austrian Federal Railways CEO Christian Kern.

Israeli railway cybersecurity startup Cylus, today announced the completion of a $12 million financing round. Leading the round were venture capital funds Vertex Ventures and Magma Venture Partners, which also led the company's preceding round. Also investing in the round were Indian technology company Cyient; GlenRock, Leon Recanati's private investment fund; the Cerca Partners fund; and the FollowtheSeed fund, plus previous investors in the company: Japanese group SBI, former Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, and entrepreneur Zohar Zisapel. Cylus has now raised a total of $17 million, including the latest round.

Cylus was founded in 2017 by CEO Amir Levintal and VP R&D Miki Shifman, both veterans of IDF intelligence units. Also taking part in the company's founding were former Israel Railways CEO Boaz Tzafrir and Zohar Zisapel. Cylus claims that the combination of cybersecurity personnel and senior railway industry executives enables the company to develop technology specially adapted to railway systems.

The current round is designed to enable Cylus to expand its staff in both its development center in Israel and in US, European, and Asian Pacific markets. The company, which currently has 19 employees in Israel, plans to enlarge its workforce to 30 by the beginning of 2020, mostly in Israel, with a few in the US, Europe, and the Asian Pacific region.

"The conventional approach to cyber defense for organizations is unsuitable for the architecture of railways network," Levintal told "Globes" in the past. "The existing cyber products in the market do not speak the railways' language. The standard technologies are adapted to IT, and we deal with signaling communications - the mobile world of a train in motion. Wireless communications, which facilitate remote control of a train, are vulnerable to exploitation by an attacker trying to take over a train and harm the passengers."

Cylus says that the platform it has developed detects cyber threats on the signaling and control networks of railways to both the trains and the control equipment. Since it is suitable for the railway networks, it makes it possible to thwart threats without disrupting the railways' proper functioning, and without blocking their communications with the control center.

"I know firsthand that cybersecurity is among the top priorities for rail executives," said Kern, who is also a former CEO of ÖBB, the Austrian Federal Railways. "Cylus' laser-sharp focus on this industry provides customers the huge advantage of a dedicated product designed by experts who speak both cyber and rail."

Activity: Cybersecurity for railways

Founded: 2017

Founders: Amir Levintal and Miki Shifman

Employees: 19

Offices: Tel Aviv

Capital raised: $17 million

Investors: Vertex Ventures, Magma Venture Partners, Cyient, GlenRock, Cerca Partners, SBI, FollowtheSeed, Christian Kern, and Zohar Zisapel

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 6, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Amir Levintal Photo: Cylus
Amir Levintal Photo: Cylus
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