Startup nations | Israeli firms leading players in fighting cyberattacks

Major cybercrimes over the last year have proven that no one, not even the director of the CIA, is invincible when it comes to cyberattacks — the director’s personal email was hacked by a teenager. Anthem, the second-largest health insurance company in the United States, suffered a significant breach as 80 million personal records were hacked. And to show that no government agency is secure, hackers broke into the Federal Office of Personnel Management in two unprecedented cyberattacks, exposing over 20 million federal personnel records, including the fingerprints of over 5 million federal employees.

And the damage is only growing. Global cyberdata breaches are expected to cost businesses $2.1 trillion by 2019, nearly four times the cost of cyberattacks in 2015 alone.

The good news is that the good cyber guys are fighting back. San Francisco is playing host late this month to the annual RSA Conference, arguably the world’s most important information security event of the year. Roaming from the United States to Europe and Asia, the conference has consistently attracted the best and brightest in the field, creating opportunities for participants to learn about the most important Internet security issues through first-hand interactions with peers, luminaries and emerging and established companies.

As with every year, Israel will be on hand at the RSA Conference to demonstrate its leadership in the cybersecurity field. The Israeli Economic Mission, along with the Israel Export Institute, is hosting a delegation of 36 cybersecurity companies. The delegation will be part of the Economic Mission’s third annual Israeli Cyber-Security Showcase, a pre-conference event connecting companies with top venture capitalists, corporations and strategic partners. Previous cyber-showcase events have generated tens of millions of dollars in business for participating companies, and we expect this year to be no different. More information is at

The following Israeli companies with U.S. headquarters are among those attending the RSA Conference this year:

• Deep Instinct: Based in San Francisco, this is the first company to apply artificial intelligence’s deep learning to cybersecurity. Leveraging deep learning’s predictive capabilities, Deep Instinct’s on-device solution protects against zero-day threats and APT (advanced persistent threat) attacks with accuracy.

• Skycure: This Palo Alto-based company offers mobile security solutions that provide proactive protection and predictive intelligence to help organizations and their mobile users stay ahead of attackers anywhere in the world.

• Comilion: This U.S.-based firm is the world’s first decentralized, cybersecurity collaboration platform enabling compliant, real-time cyberthreat information sharing and collaboration across enterprises.

Israel ranks second after the United States when it comes to the number of innovative solutions developed to deal with the growing threat and scope of cyberattacks. According to figures published by Israel’s National Cyber Bureau, Israeli cybersecurity exports totaled $3.5 billion in 2015, a 5 percent share of the estimated $75 billion global cybersecurity market. American multinationals continue to flock to Israel to establish cybersecurity R&D centers and shop for acquisitions. In the past year, Microsoft acquired two Israeli cybersecurity startups, Secure Islands and Palo Alto-headquartered Adallom, for an estimated combined total of over $400 million.


Startup of the month

SecBI is creator of the SOC Investigation Platform, a power tool for security analysts that converts masses of big data into actionable intelligence so you can investigate and mitigate attacks quickly and accurately. SecBI will also take part in the Israeli delegation to the RSA Conference.


Exit of the year

2015 was a record year for startup exits in Israel. So rather than focusing on an exit of the month, we will focus attention on the Israeli startup environment as a whole. According to Israeli research firm IVC, Israeli startup acquisitions totaled $9.02 billion in 2015. While the number of acquisitions went down slightly, there was a 16 percent increase in total value compared with 2014. The top three acquisitions alone, ranging from $500 million to over $1 billion, account for nearly a third of the annual total. Deals backed by venture capitalists were big winners, bringing in over $4 billion.

Gili Ovadia is the S.F.-based Israeli consul for economic affairs to the West Coast.