Belgian beer maker of Corona, Budweiser scouts for cybersecurity edge in Israel

AB InBev teams up with Israeli cybersecurity VC fund Team8 to identify and set up collaborations with local cybersecurity firms

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Budweiser beer bottles. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for New York/via JTA)
Budweiser beer bottles. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for New York/via JTA)

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (AB InBev), a Belgium-based maker of beers including Beck’s, Budweiser and Corona, has teamed up with Israeli cybersecurity firm Team8 to tap into technologies developed in Israel.

As part of the agreement, Team8 will facilitate collaboration between Israeli cybersecurity firms and AB InBev to provide them with the necessary tools to protect their operations globally, the Belgian firm said in a statement Tuesday.

Team8, an Israeli venture capital fund focused on the cybersecurity industry, was founded by three former leaders of Israel’s military intelligence Unit 8200: Nadav Zafrir, who commanded the unit, Israel Grimberg and Liran Grinberg.

The agreement with Team8 is in addition to the cybersecurity unit the beer maker set up last year in Tel Aviv, which aims to develop security solutions for the firm.

The maker of some 500 beer brands, which holds 30 percent of the global beer market, started operating in Israel in 2018 when it acquired the startup Weissbeerger Ltd., a developer of a platform to analyze beverage consumption at any point of sale by connecting beer taps to the internet and by collecting data from the register.

The Weissbeerger acquisition became the basis of the Belgian firm’s research and development center in Israel, which employs some 140 people in Tel Aviv.

The center teams up with the local startup ecosystem in the fields of agricultural and food technologies, retail, and smart industry (or the so-called Industry 4.0 sector), enabling entrepreneurs to try out their products in the firm’s global operations.

AB InBev is now seeking to expand its local team with an additional 50 developers, the Tuesday statement said.

Luis Veronesi, vice president of global security and compliance, told Reuters last year that AB InBev and the entire beer industry have been facing a greater number of cyber-attacks, some of them “financially motivated.”

With increased digitalization, the firm needs to be prepared for all threats, he said.

Headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, AB InBev owns around 500 brands, including Beck’s, Stella, and Leffe. The company employs over 100,000 people worldwide and reported revenues of almost $55 billion for 2018.

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