Israeli Cybersecurity Startup and Incubator Raises $18M

For a decade, Israeli entrepreneur Nadav Zafrir served as head of the legendary Unit 8200, the branch of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responsible for collecting SIGINT (signal intelligence) and code decryption.

After stepping down from his Unit 8200 post, Zafrir (above, far left) joined forces with Liran Grimberg (center left) and Israel Grinberg (standing) to form a new company called Team8, along with Ronni Zehavi (far right). Team 8 describes itself as "a cross between a startup, a venture capital firm and an accelerator," and says that "it plans to build 4-6 new cybersecurity companies in the next 4-6 years."

Thanks in large part to the top-notch security background of its founders, the company was able to land $18 million in A-round investment from a variety of well-heeled firms, including Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Investments, Marker LLC, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Innovation Endeavors.

Silicon Valley Heavyweights Enthusiastic

Team8's funding announcement included a ringing endorsement by Eric Schmidt, who is a founding partner of Innovation Endeavors and, of course, best known for his role as executive chairman of Google.

"Global cybersecurity threats are only becoming more targeted, frequent, and destructive in nature," Schmidt said, "so we're fortunate to be partnering with Team8, who is at the forefront of new cutting-edge cybersecurity innovation."

At present, Team8's first company is still in stealth mode, with no specific timeline for going live. The company is actively recruiting cybersecurity experts, and is looking for entrepreneurs to help develop additional businesses.

Future businesses will emerge from Team8's "foundry," a think tank of technology research specialists who offer both offensive and defensive expertise.

Cybersecurity Spending Rising Worldwide

Zafrir has described 2014 as a "turning point" in the awareness about the need for cybersecurity, citing the massive data breaches at Target and Sony.

"With the escalation of cyber conflicts, the world needs inter-disciplinary teams of the very best talent...

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