Microsoft Venture and Qualcomm Ventures have invested in Israeli cybersecurity think tank and venture creation foundry Team8. The Tel Aviv based company also announced today that it has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Citigroup to join its syndicate, and closed a funding round for an undisclosed sum.
Cofounded by CEO Nadav Zafrir, Israel Grimberg and Liran Grinberg, all veterans of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Unit 8200 (the equivalent of America’s National Security Agency), Team8 does not invest in cybersecurity companies, but creates them. The Tel Aviv-based company launched in late 2014 with an $18 million financing round and raised a further $23 million last February. With the latest financing round, Team8 says it has now raised $92 million.
These new strategic investors, partners and funding will join current Team8 cyber syndicate members Cisco, AT&T, Accenture, Nokia, Temasek, Mitsui, Bessemer Venture Partners, Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors and Marker LLC. and help the Tel Aviv based think tank develop disruptive companies that address the biggest problems in cybersecurity. The companies in the cyber syndicate work closely with Team8 during the exploration, ideation and validation phases of its company creation process.
Zafrir said, "Our global cyber syndicate is one of the strongest in the world. Adding the powerful brands of Microsoft Ventures, Qualcomm and Citigroup will dramatically improve our research capabilities and access to the world's biggest enterprises across a diverse arena of markets and industries."
Micosoft Ventures CVP Nagraj Kashyap said, "Israel's tech ecosystem is well-known worldwide for its innovation and creativity, and its expertise in cybersecurity truly stands out. Microsoft will work closely with Team8 to explore and research some of the major challenges the world is facing with cybersecurity today."
Mobile technology investor, Qualcomm Ventures, also joined Team8's latest strategic investment round and cyber syndicate. The two companies look forward to collaborating on new opportunities in the cybersecurity, data center and IoT sectors.
Qualcomm Ventures VP and Global Head Quinn Li said, "Mobile devices are prolific and offer a wealth of convenience and essential functionality to consumers and enterprises throughout the world. This also means greater threats and security risks need to be mitigated via robust security design measures. Team8 is a world class cybersecurity organization and together we see a number of great opportunities on the horizon."
Citigroup has also signed a strategic partnership to join Team8's cyber syndicate. The two companies will collaborate to promote cyber innovation through an ongoing exchange of knowledge and insights as well as a design partnership relationship to co-innovate with Team8's portfolio companies.
"Security is critically important for Citi, and we are constantly on the lookout for real innovation," said Charles Blauner, Global Head of Information Security at Citigroup. By collaborating with Team8, we get access to research, new trends and innovation and Team8 gets a supportive framework to navigate the challenges of securing a large organization such as Citigroup. We are fortunate to be working with Team8's talented cybersecurity experts at our Israeli center to better secure our business from evolving cyber threats."
Since its launch in 2014, Team8 has announced the launch of two companies, illusive networks and Claroty, with several more companies currently operating in stealth. illusive networks specializes in deception technology used to detect targeted attacks, while Claroty's industrial security platform secures and optimizes critical industrial infrastructure sites such as power grids, steel mills, chemical, food and beverage sites and oil refineries.
During its first commercial year of operations in 2016, Team8's portfolio companies generated more than $22 million in sales. The Group employs 180 people in Israel, US, UK and Singapore and intends to hire 100 additional employees in 2017.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 9, 2017
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