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Shlomo Kramer: a security investor looking for smart entrepreneurs to disrupt markets

Tim Greene | July 14, 2016
Tips on how to invest wisely in tech startups

shlomo kramer
Shlomo Kramer

Recently, endpoint-protection startup LightCyber announced a second round of funding - $20 million – including an investment from an individual investor with an impressive track record backing successful security startups: Shlomo Kramer.

Kramer, who is Israeli, has a long-term relationship with the company’s CEO Gonen Fink, who worked with him for years at Check Point Software where Kramer was one of the founders.

That close personal tie had some influence on his decision to back LightCyber, but he also sees it as a company with an answer for an existing problem for which there is a big market. That is one of the key characteristics Kramer looks for when making investments.

He has a good eye for what will be successful. He has been involved in Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, Trusteer, Imperva, Exabeam, Indegy, Cato Networks and a long list of other startups. His involvement ranges from investing to serving as an executive to sitting on boards of directors.

Recently he spoke with Network World Senior Editor Tim Greene about LightCyber and how he goes about analyzing what companies to back. Here is an edited transcript of that interview.

What drew you to LightCyber?

One is the market. The notion of inside of the network and the outside of the network is merging. So internet security is really important and a big market and is growing to be an important category of solution. The second thing is the product. I think they’ve done a tremendous job in building a solution that doesn’t simply address the high-end organization but provides real greatly ignored [capabilities] for the mid enterprises as well.

So organizations that don’t necessarily have the manpower (or) the expertise to handle complex, chatty, noisy solutions but are looking for something that is very accurate, delivers just the actionable events. And finally, I’ve known Gonen for many years, (he) was one of the early employees at Check Point, did an outstanding job running - he was the chief product officer throughout the growth years of the company - so I’m delighted to work with him again.

How did the company come to your attention?

Basically Gonen kind of talked to me after he joined the company and we started a dialog.

Do you see that they have any advantage over their competitors?

Certainly their ability to detect slow and low type of attacks, sophisticated attacks using machine learning behavioral analysis of the traffic. I think that kind of breaks through versus the previous generation of intrusion-prevention solutions. Second is the scope of the solution. They cover signals both from the network and the endpoint. It’s either a network signal or an endpoint signal with all the other players in the market. And finally they package all this sophistication and breadth into a solution that is very accessible not only for the sophisticated organization but also for the midmarket, which is also I think very, very unique in this category.

 

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