Claroty Exits Stealth With $32 Million in Funding to Protect Industrial Networks
Team8 Startup Backed by Investors Including Bessemer and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors; Elite Team Hails From Leading Industrial and Cybersecurity Players Including Siemens, IBM and Waterfall Security
Claroty, an innovator in Operational Technology (OT) network protection, announced today that it has exited stealth mode with $32 million in venture capital from marquee investors. Established as part of Israeli cybersecurity foundry Team8, Claroty’s backers include Bessemer Venture Partners, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Marker LLC, ICV, Red Dot Capital Partners and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. The company enters the market as the most substantially funded cybersecurity startup focused on protecting industrial control systems, and with one of the deepest teams in OT security from organizations including Siemens, IBM, Waterfall Security, Palo Alto Networks, iSIGHT Partners (FireEye), ICS2 and Industrial Defender.
In a separate announcement, the company also revealed its advanced cybersecurity platform. (See: Claroty Delivers Groundbreaking Protection for Industrial Networks)
“We have been keenly interested in the critical infrastructure security sector for the last few years,” noted David Cowan, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “We looked at several companies in the space and were not impressed until we found Claroty. They have the best vision for addressing this unique sector, a very impressive management team and serious depth in both OT and cybersecurity. Claroty has the best technology we have seen in the market and the ability to advance it at a pace that others can’t match.”
From power plants and oil refineries, to manufacturing and the electric grid, the susceptibility of industrial control systems to cyberattacks was largely a taboo subject and a dark art. However, since the disclosure of Stuxnet, vulnerability reports have exploded, and many attacks — both new and old — have been classified as cyberattacks. Recent examples include the Ukraine power grid and German steel mill attacks.
“The reason these critical systems are increasingly exposed to cyberthreats is twofold,” explained Amir Zilberstein, Claroty CEO. “Industrial and IT networks are becoming considerably more interconnected in order to achieve important business goals, but industrial control systems were originally designed with safety and resilience, not cybersecurity, as primary objectives.”
While many legacy cybersecurity companies claim they can apply traditional Information Technology (IT) security to OT systems, the reality is that everything about OT — from protocols to staff — is different and requires technology specifically designed for the mission. The Claroty Platform has been built from the ground up with an unprecedented understanding of ICS, SCADA and other essential OT networks as well as deep cybersecurity knowledge. That focus comes from a team of more than 45 experts, including an elite management team and an unmatched ICS security research organization. Claroty founders include:
•Amir Zilberstein, co-founder and CEO: Zilberstein co-founded Waterfall Security Solutions, which created some of the first and strongest security gateways specific to critical infrastructure, and Gita Technologies. Earlier in his career, he managed a team of cybersecurity researchers and developers within the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Zilberstein invented and authored more than ten patents, most of them in the field of cybersecurity.
•Galina Antova, co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer: Antova previously served as the Global Head of Industrial Security Services at Siemens. Prior to that she was with IBM in the Provisioning and Cloud Solutions business. She holds a BS in Computer Science from York University in Toronto and an MBA from IMD in Switzerland.
•Benny Porat: co-founder and CTO: Prior to co-founding Claroty, Porat was a security researcher at NorthBit. Previously, he commanded a strategic cyber research team within the IDF and led a project that won the prestigious Israeli Defense Award. Porat submitted his PhD thesis in Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University in 2016 and has published several works in online pattern matching.
The Claroty management team includes Nadav Zafrir who serves as Claroty president and has worked with the founders to recruit a cybersecurity research team that comprises the “top 1% of the 1%” from a special IDF cyberunit. Zafrir is also the Team8 co-founder and CEO and the former Head of Unit 8200 (Israel’s NSA).
“Applying traditional cybersecurity tools to OT systems is a recipe for failure,” said Antova. “Having spent years securing OT environments, it is critical that the solution truly speaks the unique language of OT. While CISOs have been handed the responsibility to monitor and protect industrial systems, their teams lack real-time visibility into these operational networks. Claroty is not just making a security tool that provides extreme visibility into OT networks and protocols, it’s also creating a platform on which IT and OT teams can work toward shared cybersecurity and process integrity goals.”