Team8 cybersecurity research lab starts up

  • February 12, 2015
  • News

February 12, 2015 - Team8, a new cybersecurity research lab and startup foundry, recently launched with a mission to build revolutionary cybersecurity companies and architect a safer cyber world. Team8 launches with a USD $18 million A-round investment from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Investments, Marker LLC, Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), and Innovation Endeavors.

“Global cybersecurity threats are only becoming more targeted, frequent, and destructive in nature, so we’re fortunate to be partnering with Team8, who is at the forefront of new cutting-edge cybersecurity innovation,” said Eric Schmidt, founding partner of Innovation Endeavors and executive chairman of Google. “Team8 is a great example of how Israel has some of the best talent in the world to confront these challenges through its ability to develop advanced and creative solutions for this rapidly evolving landscape."

The Team8 foundry is a platform for building and launching cybersecurity companies from scratch. At the core of the foundry is a technology research group that acts as an operational “think tank,” carrying out extensive, practical research that incorporates offensive and defensive expertise. Team8 has assembled a unique pool of talent, and applies proven methods for tackling the most challenging cybersecurity problems. Team8 also recruits experienced entrepreneurs to partner with technical teams, and plans to inject the capital, resources, expertise, and talent they need at every phase to launch successful startups.

"With the escalation of cyber conflicts, the world needs inter-disciplinary teams of the very best talent to formulate new approaches to security," said Team8 Co-founder Nadav Zafrir. "Over the past year, Team8 has developed a unique model to tackle the toughest problems, inventing disruptive technologies that are commercialized through the creation of new startup companies."

The founding team is composed of accomplished entrepreneurs and cyber innovation executives. Nadav Zafrir and Israel Grimberg, known figures in the Israeli cyber innovation space, co-founded Team8 together with Liran Grinberg, an entrepreneur and product management expert (eToro, Conduit). Team8’s technology research group is led by cyber research veteran, Assaf Mischari. Ray Rothrock, an investor and board member of Check Point Software Technologies, is joining Team8’s board of directors. A special advisor to the team is Ronni Zehavi, a former security executive at Akamai Technologies who previously founded Cotendo (acquired by Akamai).

“In 22 years of investing in phenomenal entrepreneurs, I have never seen as strong a group of security talent as I’ve seen within Team8,” said BVP partner David Cowan, who co-founded VeriSign, Good Technology, and, and led early venture rounds in more than 30 cybersecurity companies. “Having personally witnessed early simplistic attacks evolve into organized crime and nation-sponsored advanced persistent threats (APTs), I believe defense requires a deep, first-hand understanding of the cutting-edge cyber techniques and processes. Team8 clearly has this understanding. No other private sector team understands this as deeply as Team8.”The Team8 platform is further enhanced by strategic research and engineering collaborations with industry leaders, such as Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent (including Alcatel-Lucent’s leading industrial research arm, Bell Labs); both are among the platform’s investors.

Bell Labs teams across the globe will collaborate with Team8 on various security challenges. This will include close collaboration between Team8 and Bell Labs researchers working at a cloud and security facility near Tel Aviv, Israel, and represents the first major industry collaboration since the facility was officially opened in December 2014.

Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs and CTO, Alcatel-Lucent said: “As we enter the era where our lives are digitized and everything is connected via IP networks, it is critical that we increase the security of these networks and systems. We need to know that sensitive and private data is protected and any breach discovered and remediated before any damage is done. The Bell Labs team in Israel will be collaborating closely with Team8 to both detect and then remediate even the most sophisticated attacks, leveraging the unique expertise of Team8 and Bell Labs. ”

The first Team8 company - still in stealth mode - is led by Check Point veteran Ofer Israeli and focuses on mitigating targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats (APTs). Team8 and its companies are currently recruiting exceptional talent. Team8 also invites exceptional entrepreneurs to join forces on building new cybersecurity companies.

Exceptional leaders and entrepreneurs work with Team8 via an Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) model, working out of the company’s Tel Aviv headquarters to explore, ideate, and validate new concepts, hand-in-hand with Team8’s leaders and extended network. All EIRs have access to Team8’s domain expertise, research, marketing, business development, and top talent recruiting capabilities. Team8 funds this process, giving entrepreneurs the time and resources needed for the development of fundamental research into differentiated solutions and long-term, independent companies that solve real market needs.

Yuval Shahar, Partner at Marker LLC and Innovation Endeavors said: "For the last couple of years I've been considering new models for initiating and building start-up companies to tap into Israeli know-how and intellect. I’m convinced that Team8 has the right team and model to fulfill this aspiration"

About Team8

Team8 is a cyber “think tank” focused on developing disruptive technologies and launching new cybersecurity companies. Team8 provides the capital, research, expertise, network and talent to startup teams tackling the toughest cybersecurity challenges. Team8 was founded by leading Israeli cyber executives and is backed by Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors and Marker LLC.

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