IAI earmarks cybersecurity as key growth engine

Israel’s largest aerospace and defense company says it had $100m worth of cyber-business contracts at end 2016

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

Kfir-7, Israeli Aircraft Industries (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)
Kfir-7, Israeli Aircraft Industries (photo credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI), the country’s largest aerospace and defense company, said it has set up a special division to deal with the cyber business of its subsidiary ELTA Systems Ltd., a defense electronics company. The IAI has appointed Esti Peshin as the general manager of the division.

The government-owned company, which manufactures military and civilian aircraft and products, said it ended 2016 with contracts totaling over $100 million in the fields of cyber-intelligence, cyber-forensics and analysis, and cyberdefense centers.

“We consider cyber to be a strategic field of activity and a growth engine at IAI, and expect it to continue to expand significantly in the coming years,” said Joseph Weiss, IAI’s president and CEO, in a statement. “The establishment of IAI’s Cyber Division serves as infrastructure for continued extensive activity. We will continue to invest in cyber companies and research and development centers in order to continue to expand in this field.”

IAI sees cybersecurity as a strategic field and source of growth. The company is developing cyber solutions and advanced capabilities for intelligence, monitoring, identification and accessibility, offering clients tools to tackle cyberthreats. IAI operates R&D and innovation centers in Singapore, Switzerland and Israel. The company also leads the Israel Cyber Company Consortium (IC3) which comprised of leading Israel cyber companies.

Israel is seen as a global leader in cybersecurity. Sixty-five new cyber startups were set up in Israel in 2016, and the nation maintained its leading position as a global center of cybersecurity innovation, a report by the nonprofit Start-Up Nation Central revealed.

A record $581 million of capital was raised by cybersecurity startups last year in Israel, a 9 percent increase compared to 2015. This amount was second only to the US, and accounted for 15% of the total venture capital raised by cybersecurity companies globally. At the end of 2016 there were 365 cybersecurity companies active in Israel, compared to 187 in 2012, according to data compiled by Startup Nation’s database and PitchBook.

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