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Israeli Startup CEOs Never Stay Still


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For a corporate giant, IBM sure can move fast. I suppose big only means slow when it comes to government. IBM’s acquisition of data security provider Trusteer in was a lightening fast exit. IBM snatched up Trusteer for pragmatic reasons related to its own vast corporate mandate and portfolio. Trusteer provides advanced anti-fraud and advanced persistent threat (APT) malware detection solutions for financial service and asset management companies that depend on cutting edge endpoint security as their lifeline.

IBM was clearly impressed by the track record of successful startups springing out of Israel’s Silicon Wadi. The fact that one of its key stakeholders, Shlomo Kramer, has established a reputation for betting on the winning horse in his many cyber-security ventures was surely additional incentive.

The deal is worth approximately $700 million, similar to this year’s other near billion dollar mega-acquisition – the sale of Waze to Google. This is a glass half empty / full dilemma on the face of it. Israeli companies are hugely successful in the initial growth and development phase. But they can’t seem to survive as independent actors as giant corporate entities. They lack the means “to go at it alone” without outside backing.

The half full side of the equation is that Trusteer was managed with Kramer’s deal-making aptitude. Data security companies with Kramer in their corner- Imperva, Check Point Software, and Palo Alto Networks – do very well. And so does Kramer, whose cup now doth runneth over. His personal fortune is closing in on $1 billion.

The last financial quarter has witnessed robust VC activity in Israel and a flurry of impressive exit deals. Trusteer’s founder, Mickey Boodaei – also an experienced Israeli hand at start-ups – probably saw much of this coming when he started the company in 2006. Serial entrepreneurs of the Kramer and Boodaie type live by the rule “never stay still.” Boodaie is now investing in new security startups, Comilion and Lacoon Mobile Security that are causing a lot of buzz.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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William R. Feins , freelance journalist from London, UK; he received his B.A. degree in Economics and his Masters in Sociology. William has always been interested in the mechanics of business and the inspiration of original thinkers, and firmly believes that the former can’t succeed without the latter. In his spare time, he enjoys the ridiculous spectacle of watching table tennis on a big screen (preferably at a pub) and reading weighty tomes about World War II.


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