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An Exclusive Interview: Shlomo Kramer Aims to Become a Global Leader in Security

[Translated] For original article in French, visit:

Less than 40 years old, he is already a legend in the high tech industry. In the early 90s, Shlomo Kramer invented with his colleagues Gil Shwed and Marius Nacht, the enterprise firewall « Firewall I » and launched in 1993 the Israeli firm Check Point Software Technologies, which is recognized as a world leader in the security market. When he decided to leave CheckPoint 10 years later, the company was publicly traded on NASDAQ and his personal fortune was in the 100s of millions of dollars. The man who greets us in a modest office near Ramat Gan is not one to sit on his laurels. His latest creation called Imperva (based on the English term « impenetrable»). This start-up is based in Foster City, California, with approximately 50 of its 100 employees working in the diamond exchange district, including some « white hat hackers » that test the vulnerability of its products. The founder’s motto is: perimeter security is no longer sufficient, the security battlefield has moved to data.

« Israel has built deep expertise in security and its share of the global market is unmatched said Shlomo Kramer. However, since Check Point was founded, data security like all technology markets has evolved. New market segments have been created: as such Imperva was the first « start-up » to focus on securing sensitive data, especially financial data. Our business is not only to protect sensitive data from hackers, but to provide organizations with tools to control access to confidential information. »

According to the man Red Herring magazine called « Sheriff of the Network » security challenges are greater than ever. « The Internet has created new information distribution challenges for entreprises. Hackers have not only become more sophisticated, but they are no longer motivated by “ego”. They now hack for profit. Fraud is now big business», explains Shlomo Kramer. According to US government statistics the identity theft and phishing has generated $46 billion in financial losses. In this new environment, Imperva offers organizations a practical solution for securing their databases and web applications. « Until now, security professionals were satisfied with deploying a firewall or IPS meet their needs: they only focused on network security », adds Imperva’s CEO.

The cursor is now moving as evidenced by the recent acquisition by Check Point of Protect Data AB for $586M, which enabled the Israeli firm to add client security capabilities; and the evolution of Symantec into e-mail and data security.

Imperva, founded in 2002, is focused on monitoring and analyzing how data is used by internal and external users. Its products automatically audit data usage and then can alert on policy violations in real-time and enforce selective data access for specific users. The company will be profitable in Q2 2007. It has achieved triple digit growth for the 2nd straight year, has 165 customers, with about 1/3 in Europe such as Atos Euronext and Accor. Imperva has raised $33.7M in three rounds of financing from Accel, Greylock Partners, USVP, Venrock. Imperva has operations in the US to be close to « business angels », said Imperva chief Shlomo Kramer, a computer science graduate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who has invested in numerous start-ups including Business Layers, ForeScout Technologies and Digital Fuel. His favorite role is that of serial entrepreneur. “I am as passionate about creating companies as I am about security. Five years ago, being a serial entrepreneur was not viewed positively in Israel, contrary to what was going on in Silicon Valley. Today, I am pleased to report that this category of entrepreneurs is now being valued here.”