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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

What are the key factors you look at when considering investing in a company?

First of all I really focus on areas where I have a lot of domain knowledge. My portfolio target is very concentrated around security. I really like companies that go after an existing market and sense a disruption, because then the use cases are very clear, the budgets are already there for refresh and renewal, and what you need is to address a new way of doing things in this market.

The other is companies that are in a market that I can feel is going to be an important market. This is more of a gut feeling. I invested for example in mobile security where it’s obvious that mobile security is going to be important. Both Lacoon and WatchDox are companies in this category and both are very good outcomes. One was bought by Check Point, one was bought by Blackberry. But in general I would say that the mobile security market, if I look in hindsight happened much more slowly than I would have expected. I can’t provide an analytical thing on what I’m looking for in the new markets except for the timing.

I would say great entrepreneurs is the number one requirement because a lot of the companies that I was involved with ended up doing not what they started doing. The number one parameter for success in these companies was the ability of the entrepreneurs to be intellectually honest, one, and second being smart enough to be able to navigate the market. Really these smart entrepreneurs are the key. So I guess a great market, a fertile market, let’s say it like that, and very smart entrepreneurs are the combinations that I am looking for.

How old are you?

I’m 50.

Are you ever going to retire?

I don’t think of what I’m doing as work. I’ve been very fortunate to do what I like to do so I don’t see that kind of retirement as something that is an option.


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