18 Israeli cyber millionaires worth NIS 30b

Gil Shwed
Gil Shwed

The ever-growing need for cybersecurity has generated enormous wealth for some.

The Israeli cybersecurity sector has yielded several multi-millionaires and many people who need not worry about saving for retirement. “Globes” put together a list of 18 cyber startup founders with tends millions of shekels to their name - whether on paper or after an exit.

The founders may take the largest share of the pie, but the wealth trickles down - as in every industry - because the companies employ dozens of senior managers and hundreds to thousands of workers, who make their fortunes primarily through the stock options in their work contracts.

It is thus likely the Israeli cybersecurity industry has generated dozens of people with at least NIS 1 million in their bank accounts.

Atop the table sit the three founders of Check Point - the pioneering Israeli cyber startup - who are valued in the billions. Gil Shwed, Marius Nacht, and Shlomo Kramer founded Check Point some 23 years ago, but have since followed different paths.

Shwed still serves as CEO and devotes most of his time to the enterprise. Nacht chose to take a less hands-on, background role at Check Point - chairman of the board. Kramer, on the other hand, left Check Point five years after it was founded and became a serial entrepreneur of information and cybersecurity startups. He currently divides his time between several companies - some which have gone public, others which were sold, and still others which are awaiting their breakout.

The next three on the list, unsurprisingly, are tied in one way or another to the three Check Point founders. Nir Zuk started out at the company and eventually became a rival of Shwed by founding Palo Alto Networks, one of Check Point’s main competitors. Mickey Boodaei teamed up with Kramer to found a few startups, most notably Trusteer, which was sold to IBM in 2013 for $700-800 million. Amichai Shulman, in sixth place, was also a partner of Kramer in some ventures. Shulman amassed most of his fortune from Imperva, which is publicly traded in the US at a market cap of $1.5 billion.

Following Check Point and Imperva, the third largest Israeli venture among the publicly traded companies is CyberArk, founded by Udi Mokady and Alon Cohen. Mokady, like Shwed, still serves as CEO while Cohen bowed out in the first years after selling his shares to one of the Israeli VC funds already invested in the company. CyberArk has a US market cap of $1.3 billion.

The rest of the list is composed of young entrepreneurs who sold their ventures to foreign giants, mainly in the past year or two. The three founders of Adallom, sold to Microsoft last summer for NIS 320 million, each received NIS 98 million. The three founders of Towersec, which was sold at the start of the year to Harman for $70 million, each cashed out between NIS 27-76 million. The two founders of CyActive, which was sold this year to PayPal for $60 million, each amassed NIS 68 million.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 4, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

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