Check Point billionaire Nacht: Digital healthcare is Israel’s next growth engine

Cybersecurity pioneer tells Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Tel Aviv that Israel seeks’ new layer’ of partnership with US Jewry – in business

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

Check Point Software Technologies co-founder Marius Nacht (Courtesy)
Check Point Software Technologies co-founder Marius Nacht (Courtesy)

Billionaire Marius Nacht, the co-founder of $18 billion cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., said Tuesday that the digitization of life sciences and healthcare will shake up the world, just as the advent of the internet and cybersecurity did.

“Just like the internet and cybersecurity 25 years ago, we see the digitization of life sciences and healthcare as the next tsunami and the next growth engine for Israel,” Nacht told the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Tel Aviv.

Having set up aMoon, a life sciences venture capital fund that invests in innovative health technologies, after he saw his father agonize in a battle with cancer, Nacht also founded in 2017 a nonprofit organization that aims to make Israel a global leader on the healthcare map.

Nacht, who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Ashkelon, was drafted to an elite cadet program called Talpiot in the IDF at the age of 18, where he served for nine years and where he developed the prototypes of the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Illustrative image of a doctor with stethoscope touching digital icons (chaiyapruek2520, iStock by Getty Images)

Twenty-five years ago he co-founded Check Point Software, considered a pioneer and leader in Cyber Security. Check Point, listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, is one of Israel’s largest companies.

“We employ 5,000 people, pay taxes, and are considered the Israeli flagship in terms of innovation, business, and do-good,” he told the gathering. “Many millionaires and philanthropists stemmed out of Check Point. But most of all, Check Point ignited an economic growth engine for Israel. Hundreds of cybersecurity companies of all sizes emerged — some remained independent, and some got sold for billions.

“Together, we have a macro impact on the Israeli economy and philanthropy.
Check Point was my best way to generate direct and indirect positive impact on Israeli society and the Israeli global brand.”

New partnerships with US Jewry: Beyond learning to fish

“Israel at 70 is a regional superpower with a GDP per capita on par with Italy and Korea, even with our enormous spending on defense,” he said.  This, he said, is partly due to the philanthropy of American Jewry over the years.

However, Nacht added,  “as Israel prospers,” its relationship with US Jewry “needs to prosper as well, and to add another layer.”

“In the past, giving fishing rods and fishing nets were welcome and sufficient, but
now, we ask for your partnership in building fish farms and together exporting fish to the rest of the world.

“Today we ask for your business savvy, your know-how, your network — your partnership. This is the new layer or the next floor that we need to add to our relationship building.”

“We see vast opportunities and unique advantages that Israel has to offer,” he said, adding that he wants to build flagship firms in health technology here in Israel.

“We want these companies to grow and flourish here in Israel like Check Point does, and like other healthcare companies prosper in Switzerland, UK, US,” he said. “I realize that some of them will get acquired, but we want to make sure that is for the highest price. There are so many business partnerships that Israel has to offer, which remain untapped.”

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