"There's no doubt that the cybersecurity sector’s Apple could come from Israel. The market is full of entrepreneurs who have experience of founding one, two or even three companies. There is an ecosystem of entrepreneurs that have experienced how companies evolve and have the necessary contacts. The combination of what occured in the past couple of years of distances from markets abroad being reduced and the development of the Israeli ecosystem mean that our ability to set up companies that are not meant to be acquired has become a given," said Nadir Izrael, co-founder and CTO of Armis, talking at a cybersecurity panel held at the Tech TLV Conference on Tuesday.
The panel also included Amit Bareket, co-founder and CEO of Perimeter 81, Gil Azrielant, co-founder and CTO of Axis Security and Shay Levi, co-founder and CTO of Noname Security.
"Covid-19 resulted in a digital transformation and created an accelerated process that requires solutions for this new world," said Bareket. "The investors understand this and are investing big sums that allow companies to create long-term solutions."
Azrielant believes Israel has everything required to become the home of the next cybersecurity giant. "Before we ask whether such a company can be founded in Israel we need to ask whether such a company can be founded anywhere. Over recent years we are seeing that the dangers and damages from cyberattacks are increasing and the cybersecurity market will continue and grow as a result," explained Azrielant. "There is an unbelievable pool of talent in Israel compared to other countries and we understand what is needed. Companies and entrepreneurs are fed up with building a specific solution and are instead creating platforms that will provide significant added value."
Levi explained that the growth in the cybersecurity sector over recent years has also got a lot to do with recent macroeconomic developments. "An environment in which interest rates are at zero creates a lot of money for the startup market," he said. "There is always a need for innovation but now it is accelerated. This is a positive thing that allows companies to grow at a faster and more impressive pace than ever."
The shortage in tech talent has resulted in fierce competition for every recruit, but Azrielant believes growing companies are facing even greater challenges. "High salaries and a lack of employees is something that can be managed. I think that the challenge in significant growth is to retain a strong enough company structure that will support this growth," he explained. "To triple your workforce over a short period results in many internal and cultural challenges. Israel is the startup nation but we are now making the transition to being a scale-up nation and that requires discipline and a process that needs to be followed in order to reach the expected growth targets."