The Israeli cyber security industry is drawing unprecedented money and attention, with the Israeli-U.S. startup Cybereason saying on Monday it had raised a huge $59 million in a funding round.
The round was led by SoftBank Corporation, a unit of Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Group, which contributed $50 million of the total. Existing investors Boston-based Charles River Ventures and California-based Spark Capital joined in the round.
Cybereason said it would open an office in Japan with SoftBank acting as local distributor. The companies aim to launch commercial services in Japan in the first half of 2016.
“We invested two years only developing technology that hadn’t existed. We began doing business in the final quarter of 2014 and since then we’ve expanded significantly,” said CEO and cofounder Lior Div.
“Now we want to do something in Japan with Softbank, which is the biggest software distributor in the country. They have holdings in 1,500 countries including Sprint in the U.S., Yahoo Japan and 30% of Alibaba,” said Div, 38, who said his strategy is to recruit investors who not only provide capital but strategic assets.
The whopping $59 million round comes just five months after the company said it had raised $25 million from the U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin. As recently as 2013, the company had raised an ordinary funding round – its first – of just $4.6 million.
The funding round is the latest confirmation of Israel’s cyber security prowess. Last week, Morphisec, which develops cyber security prevention and detection tools, said it raised $7 million and Dome9 raised $8.3 million.
Founded in Israel in 2012 by veterans of the Israel Defense Forces’ Unit 8200, Cybereason has headquarters in Boston and operates a research and development center in Tel Aviv. The company’s software, which is used by Lockheed among scores of others, detects hacking intrusions into a company’s networks.
Cybereason employs 80 people, half in Israel and half in the United States. It plans to triple its workforce with the new capital.
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