Decoding Success: How Team8 Portfolio Company Talon Got Acquired by Palo Alto Networks for a Reported $650m
The story behind the largest exit in Israel’s history for a company under 3 years old
By now, you’ve likely heard the news about Talon. Founders Ofer Ben-Noon and Ohad Bobrov have transformed a bold vision into an award-winning reality, resulting in the largest exit in Israel’s history for a company under 3 years old. Talon is being acquired for an estimated $650M, representing Palo Alto Networks’ largest acquisition outside the US, and second largest globally.
This bold vision, to power and protect the modern workforce through the browser, is set to challenge and compete with two of the world’s most powerful companies – Google and Microsoft – who currently control the browser market through Chrome and Edge. But while these browsers were built for consumers, Talon set its sights on creating a new type of browser from the ground up, designed exclusively for the enterprise, and with security at its core.
Team8 is proud to have backed Talon from inception and to have taken part in its extraordinary journey, including many transformative moments, leading to this week’s acquisition by Palo Alto Networks. Here are some of our highlights from that journey.
It Starts with a Team
Ofer and Ohad are seasoned serial entrepreneurs with a wealth of cybersecurity experience. Ofer previously founded automotive security company Argus, which was acquired by Continental for $430M; Ohad founded mobile security company Lacoon, acquired by Check Point for $100M.
In a crowded cyber startup market, Ofer and Ohad didn’t want to build another niche product. They would embark on their next entrepreneurial journey in order to build a company that could be truly transformative, create a multi-billion dollar category, and drive meaningful change in enterprise security.
A Big Vision – Transforming Enterprise Security with the Secure Enterprise Browser
Talon’s journey starts with an idea that challenges existing paradigms about how security is handled in the enterprise context. In a rapidly evolving world of distributed workforces and an ever-increasing reliance on digital technology, the browser emerged as a pivotal focal point for enterprise activity. Traditionally, this was perceived as a potential vulnerability – with consumer-focused browsers seen as a gateway through which cyber threats could infiltrate.
The Secure Enterprise Browser challenges this notion by making the browser secure-by-design. Rather than adding layers of security around the browser, Talon embedded security directly within it, creating an environment where security was intrinsic and seamlessly woven into every online interaction.
This innovative concept addresses several critical concerns:
- How can we give organizations deep visibility into every aspect of browser activity, providing them with unprecedented insights into how their employees interacted with the digital world?
- How can we empower security teams to have granular control over browser activity, allowing them to prevent data exfiltration, stop malware, and thwart phishing attempts, all from within the browser itself?
- How can organizations ensure complete respect for user privacy while protecting their vital data and systems?
Analysts Recognition Quickly Followed
Talon was creating a new category – and it didn’t take long for the analysts at Gartner to recognize transformative potential. In 2022, they named Talon a Cool Vendor in Hybrid Work Security.
In April 2023, Gartner published their Future of Enterprise Browsers report, where they predicted that “by 2030, enterprise browsers will be the core platform for delivering workforce productivity and security software on managed and unmanaged devices for a seamless hybrid work experience… the browser will become a platform from which enterprises can distribute software, collect intelligence, control access and securely enable remote work.”
The Most Innovative Startup Award
Talon won the annual RSA Conference Innovation Sandbox Contest, probably the most prestigious recognition in the cyber industry. Named the “Most Innovative Startup”, Talon was selected by a panel of esteemed judges. You can watch a video of the winning pitch below, and witness the excitement of that moment and the sense that something big is happening:
We gave Talon unique access to the market through the Team8 CISO Village, a global community of prominent CISOs from leading enterprises, including many Fortune 500 companies. This unique CISO community has been instrumental in Talon’s success – the team engaged with over 120 villagers who qualified for Talon’s ICP (ideal customer profile). We had the pleasure of featuring Talon in many of our events, with one example being our last five-day CISO Village Summit in Tel Aviv.
Watch Talon presentation at CISO Summit 2023 (eight minutes):
The Team8 CISO Village is just one example of the collective effort of the Team8 platform team, which provides comprehensive support and operational expertise across go-to-market, business development, sales acceleration, marketing, community, human resources, finance, and operations.
A Powerful Syndicate of Investors
We had the fortune to collaborate with a unique set of investors.
Team8 was a seed investor in Talon from its inception alongside David Gussarsky from Lightspeed. Quickly following winning the RSA Innovation Sandbox, the company has raised a remarkable $100M+ A-Round of funding, led by Richard Seewald at Evolution Equity Partners. Additional partners on the journey: Jay Leek from Syn Ventures, Jake Seid from Ballistic Ventures, Ken Elefant from Sorenson Ventures, and Shay Michel from Merlin Ventures.
George Kurtz, CEO of CrowdStrike, alongside Crowdstrike itself (with its corporate development lead Gur Talpaz) have also been part of this journey as strategic investors and partners to Talon’s journey.
A tribute to Zohar Zisapel, may his memory be a blessing
Sadly, one of the founding investors and first board members of Talon is not around to witness the company’s success. Zohar Zisapel, a pioneer and industry leader in Israeli tech, was one of Talon’s most enthusiastic backers from day one. He passed away just a few short months ago. His sharp insights and unique voice will be missed, and Talon will be yet another testament to the man’s astonishing legacy – as an entrepreneur, an investor, and an influential voice in and for the Israeli high-tech sector.
Better Together – Palo Alto Networks Acquires Talon
Palo Alto Networks is a close partner of Team8, taking part in Team8’s annual CISO Village Summit and meeting regularly with our portfolio companies to explore synergies. It is the largest pure-play cybersecurity company in the world with a market cap of over $70B, known to acquire the strongest teams, products and technologies. We’re excited for the continued collaboration between Team8 and Palo Alto Networks.
To quote Lee Klarich, Chief Product Officer at Palo Alto Networks, in their announcement: “The average enterprise uses hundreds of SaaS and web applications, meaning that most work is now done primarily via the browser. Talon enables organizations to secure all work activity via an Enterprise Browser, without touching the personal usage of the device or impacting user privacy. Integrating Talon with Prisma SASE will enable Palo Alto Networks to securely connect all users and devices to all applications, including private applications, and apply consistent security no matter who the user is and what device they use for work. Today’s announcement underscores our continued belief in the strength of the Israeli cybersecurity ecosystem and our commitment to our growing team in Israel.”
Talon’s journey is a testament to vision, innovation, and transformation, and we are immensely proud to have taken part in it.