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Open code software giant Elastic to buy Israeli startup, open Tel Aviv R&D site

Cybersecurity startup Build.security was established just last year, will serve as key location for engineering and security talent

Ricky Ben-David is a senior news editor at The Times of Israel.

An illustrative image of a cloud concept for date. (Arkadiusz Warguła via iStock by Getty Images)
An illustrative image of a cloud concept for date. (Arkadiusz Warguła via iStock by Getty Images)

Open code software giant Elastic NV announced on Monday that the NYSE-listed company would be acquiring an Israeli cybersecurity startup founded just over a year ago in Tel Aviv, and establishing an R&D site in the city.

Previously known as Elasticsearch, Elastic was co-founded in 2012 by Israeli entrepreneur Shay Banon in Amsterdam as an open-source search and analytics engine for data. The company built what it calls the Elastic Stack made up of Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash — software systems that allow users to search, analyze, and visualize their data. Elastic’s free and paid feature offerings are used by thousands of companies and agencies worldwide including Microsoft, NASA, The New York Times, Wikipedia, and Verizon to work through massive amounts of files and data for insights, metrics, business analytics, and visibility into their technical infrastructure

In recent years, the company has noticed that users in the cybersecurity sphere were utilizing Elastic’s products for threat hunting and security investigations, Banon told The Times of Israel in an interview on Monday. This development led Elastic to acquire DC-based endpoint security company Endgame for over $200 million nearly two years ago. The acquisition allowed Elastic to provide security teams with a new tool for collecting and detecting security information and events.

And on Monday, Elastic moved further into the cybersecurity world, with the intended acquisition of Israeli company Build.security, established in January 2020 as a cybersecurity startup by developers for developers, to allow organizations and enterprises in cloud-native environments to integrate authorization policy management right into their applications.

In plain terms, Build.security co-founder and CEO Amit Kanfer told The Times of Israel, the startup helps companies secure their applications and manage access to their platforms, while also ensuring they meet critical standards and compliance requirements.

The terms of the acquisition, expected to be finalized later this year, were not disclosed.

Build.security co-founder and CEO Amit Kanfer. (Roni Braverman)

Kanfer previously worked at Fireglass, an Israeli cybersecurity company acquired for $250 million in 2017 by Symantec, whose enterprise security unit was then acquired two years later by US fabless semiconductor company Broadcom.

Kanfer then decided to set up his own company, Build.security, raising $6 million in seed funding late last year with YL Ventures, a cybersecurity-focused venture capital firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. He said the relatively quick acquisition of his startup was the logical move.

“Everyone knows Elastic and there was strong synergy with the team,” said Kanfer, who will lead the Tel Aviv R&D site for Elastic.

The center is an important location for engineering and security talent, Banon indicated to The Times of Israel. The company is looking to expand in Banon’s native country and hire more developers, engineers, and security experts from Israel’s strong ecosystem.

Elastic co-founder and CEO Shay Banon. (Courtesy)

Elastic will be vying for talent in a fiercely competitive market that is already seeing thousands of positions remaining open due to a shortage of workers, especially in developer roles.

Banon does not seem fazed. “We build the world’s most successful data search engine. We have a good brand and developed a high level of tech excellence. We also provide a significant level of flexibility, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and have over 30 offices across the world,” he said.

Elastic employs over 2,000 people in more than 40 countries. The company went public on the NYSE in 2018, and recently reported $608.5 million in revenue for the 2021 fiscal year.

The company has a market cap of over $14 billion.

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