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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

Why do you have your finger in so many pies?

My involvement has two sides to it. One is operational. So I was one of the founders of Check Point, and then I was the founder and CEO of Imperva for 12 years, and in the last three years, the founder and CEO of Cato Networks. So that’s one aspect of the activity, and the other involves that I invest and sit on the board of companies and mentor the founders. In the more significant investments I am part of the company - Trusteer, that was sold to IBM, and I was the founding investor at a company called Lacoon Mobile Security that Check Point bought, a company called Secure Island that Microsoft bought and WatchDox a company that Blackberry bought. Some of my current investments - Exobin, which is a kind of a next generation SIEM play, Indegy, which is an industrial cyber security play, and we’re talking about LightCyber. And I have also other investments outside of security in other areas.

What are your outside interests?

One area is about trying to quantify risk and building a solution around that analysis of risk, so I invested in a company called Fundbox, which actually is doing great in cash advances to small businesses. So that’s an example of a company. [Insert Mobile] is a company with technology that comes from the security world of instrumenting mobile applications but the use case here is the fact that marketing organizations for mobile really want to innovate and change the application and engage with customers … but they are tied to development organizations.

Every change takes time and its six-months of a development cycle. So there’s a lot of friction between the innovation that the marketing wants and the development cycles on the IT side. And they came up with a solution that’s breaking this lock, that allows the marketing organization to innovate and change the application without the involvement of the development team on the instrumentation of the application.

Finally is a company called Gong. They are kind of a SaaS application that lets you record [inside sales conversations] to voice recognition and natural language and turn that data into business information and a management tool for the organization. Cato Networks, the company of which I am the CEO, is using this in the beta. And last but not least is Cato Networks, which I am really devoting all of my time to.

When you look at the way business is conducted today it’s not location-bound. It’s done everywhere on mobile devices building SaaS applications somewhere else, data in some AWS data center. This kind of gap between the shape of the business and the shape of the locality of [security] appliances creates huge challenges for the organization, for the networking side and the security side. So both the network security stack and the wide area network stack – MPLS, IP VPN – are really broken, and this is like a $50 billion market that is being transformed by cloud and mobility and Cato is proud of being a kind of a new architecture that meets the needs of organizations.

 

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