Cisco acquires Portshift; Celebrating Team8’s second company acquisition

By Yuval Shachar, Managing Partner, Team8 Group

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Here’s to celebrating a major milestone.

Team8-incubated cloud-native workload protection company Portshift has been acquired by Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO). The Portshift team has joined Cisco’s ET&I (Emerging Technologies & Incubation) group.

Portshift, backed by $5.3M in Seed funding from Team8, was founded in 2018 out of Team8 Enterprise, Team8’s enterprise-focused company-building vehicle, which specializes in enterprise infrastructure technologies, AI, and cybersecurity.

The company founders are serial entrepreneurs with over 20 years’ experience managing software, networking, and embedded system development teams. CEO Ran Ilany, is the former head of security infrastructure division at Check Point Technologies, and CTO and co-founder, Zohar Kaufman, previously served as VP R&D at CTERA Networks and VP R&D at SofaWare technologies.

Creating Something Out of Nothing

In my eyes, there is something magical around the creation of something out of nothing, as is the case in the lifecycle of a new startup.

People who have never experienced this often struggle later to understand what happens when a startup gets acquired. I have always believed that success is driven by passion for what you do and for how it can change the world. Oddly enough, this passion does not go away once you are acquired — on the contrary, often the acquisition is a launchpad for a small company to leverage the huge market influence and reach of the acquirer. Done right, rather than just a financial transaction, an acquisition is that opportunity to greatly amplify what was until recently just an idea in a few people’s minds.

After several years of being part of Portshift’s journey from concept to product, I feel confident that the company’s technology will have a major impact on the global cybersecurity industry. The company’s innovative Kubernetes-native security platform will complement Cisco’s robust cloud security capabilities and will support Cisco in meeting the growing demand for cloud-native security solutions. As Cisco’s VP of Strategy, Emerging Technologies, and Incubation, Liz Centoni noted in her blog, “Portshift aligns to Cisco’s approach of providing secure connectivity between users, devices and apps, wherever they reside.”

Having personally founded companies acquired by Cisco in the past, it is gratifying to be part of another journey that starts with a dream and ends up with the ability to change the world by being acquired by a global leader such as Cisco. I know the Portshift team is in for an amazing journey building up their technology roadmap, their market impact and their personal careers within the Cisco family.

This announcement signifies a major achievement for Team8. Incident response and consulting company Sygnia was the first Team8 company to be acquired when they were purchased by Temasek for $250M in 2018. Portshift is now the second out of five companies started in our first Vehicle. The other three companies, ClarotyIllusive and Hysolate, are all scaling revenue and could become category leaders in their domains.

It is interesting to note that for both Sygnia and Portshift, a Team8 Villager and investor preempted the market and became the acquirer. This underlines the value that Team8’s unique investment and company-building model brings to our partners and allies, allowing them to help shape companies that are relevant to them and the market, as well as provide privileged early visibility into the companies’ performance in the market.

I’d like to extend congratulations, both personally and on behalf of the entire Team8 ecosystem, to co-founders Ran Ilany and Zohar Kaufman and the rest of the Portshift team. Celebrating this incredible milestone in such a relatively short time since the company’s inception is no small feat.

It is incredibly difficult to venture out with a new technology paradigm and have the audacity to change the global technology landscape, a landscape that includes the best minds in the world, funded by the best teams in the world.

Beyond leadership skills and a deep domain knowledge, this journey requires courage and incredible perseverance, resilience and grit. You have demonstrated all of the above and more, and it’s been a true pleasure to be able to dream with you and take the world on with you.

To learn more about Cisco’s acquisition of Portshift, read this post by Cisco’s Liz Centoni, SVP of Strategy, Emerging Technologies & Incubation, who spearheaded the acquisition.