Black-ops, billionaire connections attract customers, investors to Cytegic

New $3 million angel round for Tel Aviv-based cyber-security firm

Cytegic Cybersecurity dashboard (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Cytegic Cybersecurity dashboard (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Israeli cyber-security firm Cytegic continues to attract attention from both customers and investors. Last week, investors supplied the Tel Aviv-based firm with an additional $3 million, doubling its total take since the company opened for businesses in January.

Maybe it’s the mystique of working with a “black ops” guy like Carmi Gillon, the former head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, or maybe it’s the fact that Cytegic’s solution is being used by a company owned by the world’s richest man.

“Cybersecurity has become a key business issue, but despite its criticality, it is still a relatively new discipline,” said Paul Jenkel, a former senior vice president at a leading global investment management firm with more than $450 billion in assets under management and one of the investors in this round. “Cytegic’s offering is truly disruptive in that its objective is to integrate the IT security function into business operations.”

Cytegic is all about applying a scientific solution to the issue of cyber-security, said CEO Shay Zandani.

“Cytegic offers a full suite of business information tools to analyze cyber-threats and recommend solutions. Our technology presents executives with a first of its kind, pro-active and automated solution, which provides status of cyber defenses, an intelligence-based forecast tool and an online control dashboard integrating the whole system,” said Zandani. “This enables executives to focus their attention on the cyber risks posing the greatest risks to the organization, and ensures resources and personnel are allocated efficiently.”

Cytegic’s systems parse the Internet looking at trends – who is threatening whom, which kinds of attacks are in vogue, what’s in the news that would prompt an attack, and much more.

“For example, we determine how much a term, like ‘nuclear Iran,’ is being used on the Internet and the ‘undernet,’ where hackers hang out, and if our client has something to do with nuclear power, criticism of Iran, or some other related matter, we would send them an alert that they need to be on guard against an attack. Our Dynamic Trend Analysis (DyTA) system collects data from over 1,000 sources and checks 20,000 terms and concepts, analyzing them and determining what the threat level is for relevant clients.”

Using that data, Cytegic also offers a risk analysis engine and simulation engine to conduct “what if” scenarios to determine the best way to allocate spending to prevent disaster. The systems run automatically and independently of other software. While Cytegic does not recommend specific products, it does recommend a range of solutions that will help companies significantly narrow down their choices, and boost the likelihood that the solutions they do choose will be the right ones – defending against the most likely kind of attacks whether they be phishing attempts, denial of service attacks, or others.

“Companies have learned that they need to budget for cyber-security, but the question for many is how they should spend that money. That’s the question we try to answer, using business intelligence analysis of the threat levels to organizations.”

Cytegic had the answer to the cyber-security quandary at Scitum — an affiliate company of Telmex, the largest telecommunication company in Mexico, which adopted Cytegic earlier this year. Telmex is part of Grupo Carso, owned by Carlos Slim, who with a net worth of about $80 billion is the world’s richest man.

No doubt Slim, as many others, were impressed with the fact that Carmi Gillon, who specializes in security, is an investor in Cytegic and a member of its board of directors. Now ambassador to Denmark, Gillon is the former head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency – and he helped Cytegic put its solution together.

“Cyber threats — whether from cyber-crime or orchestrated attacks on critical infrastructure — are becoming a growing risk factor to organizations, but the troops on the frontlines are overwhelmed,” said Gillon. “It’s time for the generals — CEOs and board members — to join the fight. Cytegic’s solutions equip them with the tools to prepare their defenses and protect their assets.”

With venture investment in cyber-security at an all-time high, Cytegic felt an additional angel round would provide the runway needed to deliver incontrovertible proof of its value proposition in advance of conducting a Series A round, the company said. Joining Jenkel in the investment round are Ambassador Stuart A. Bernstein (ret.), chairman emeritus of The Bernstein Companies LLC, one of the largest real estate equity funds in the mid-Atlantic region with more than $330 million of invested equity since its inception, and Kenneth L. Stein, partner and IP law expert at Greenfield Stein & Senior, LLP.

“Our customers are tasked with securing large, global infrastructures, and they tell us the Cytegic platform has transformed their relationships with executive management and fostered confidence and respect for the security organization in ways that are positively impacting corporate culture,” said Zandani. “We are extremely excited about our current success and look forward to working with our customers and investors to enable organizations to mature cyber-security operations and leverage their cyber risk insights to make better business decisions.”

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