Cyber security "think-tank" Team8 raises $18m

The investment is from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Investments, Marker LLC, Bessemer, and Innovation Endeavors.

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Team8, a new cybersecurity ‘think-tank”, recently launched to build market-leading cybersecurity companies and design a safer cyber world. Team8 has closed an $18 million Series A investment round from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Investments, Marker LLC, Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), and Innovation Endeavors.

Innovation Endeavors founding partner and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said, “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. 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 partners with brilliant entrepreneurs and provides the capital, resources, expertise, and talent they need at every phase. This unique cybersecurity ideation and company creation environment enables Team8 to turn disruptive solutions into enduring companies that solve the world’s most challenging cybersecurity problems.

Team8 Co-founder Nadav Zafrir, a former commander of the elite IDF 8200 Intelligence unit, said, “The coming paradigm shift in cybersecurity requires a unique ecosystem and processes that combine strategic thinking with cutting-edge interdisciplinary technological and go-to-market capabilities, all run by the best talent. This is the unique model that Team8 has developed over the past year, aiming to identify and explore big problems, with the overall goal of creating cybersecurity companies based on disruptive technologies. From inception to market, we foster the entire startup lifecycle.”

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).

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.

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, conceive, 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 invention of disruptive ideas that can be turned into differentiated solutions and long-term, independent companies that solve real market needs.