Qualcomm and Microsoft on Monday became the latest big name technology companies to join Team8, an Israeli cybersecurity think tank founded by experts with ties to Israel’s elite IDF Technology and Intelligence unit.
According to a press release Microsoft Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, and Citigroup climbed on board Team 8 as cyber syndicate members, lining up alongside other heavy hitters including Cisco, AT&T Accenture, and Nokia, among others.
“Adding the powerful brands of Microsoft Ventures, Qualcomm, and Citigroup will dramatically improve our research capabilities and access to the world’s biggest enterprises across a diverse arena of markets and industries,” Team8 co-founder and CEO Nadav Zafrir said.
Formed in 2014, Team8’s mission has been to develop and launch “disruptive companies that address the biggest problems in cybersecurity.” Already, Team8 has raised more than $92 million in funding and has set up two companies: illusive networks, which specializes in deception technology used to detect targeted attacks, and Claroty, which offers an industrial security platform designed to lock down critical industrial infrastructure sites like power grids and oil refineries.
In 2016, Team8’s portfolio companies, including illusive networks, Claroty, and several other companies it said are operating in stealth, pulled in more than $22 million in sales. But there’s more work to be done, and that’s where the new partnerships come in.
As part of the syndicate, Team8 said it will work closely with Qualcomm, Microsoft, and the others to explore, define, validate ideas for the creation of additional companies.
The companies in the cyber syndicate work closely with Team8 during the exploration, ideation and validation phases of its company creation process.
With Qualcomm, Team8 is planning to collaborate on “new opportunities in the cybersecurity, data center, and IoT sectors,” while its work with Citigroup will focus on the “ongoing exchange of knowledge and insights as well as a design partnership relationship to co-innovate with Team8’s portfolio companies.”
The move to further boost cybersecurity from major players like AT&T, Qualcomm, Nokia, and Microsoft comes amid an environment of increasing innovation – and risk. As more and more devices and infrastructure have become connected, the possibilities for breaches and infiltration have also risen, as evidenced by the 2015 hack of a power grid in the Ukraine, Russian interference efforts during the 2016 election, and more frequent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
This fact hasn’t been overlooked by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which late last year issued a report urging developers, manufacturers, and service providers to boost security around the Internet of Things (IoT) to curtail growing cybersecurity risks around connected devices.
“Mobile devices are prolific and offer a wealth of convenience and essential functionality to consumers and enterprises throughout the world. This also means greater threats and security risks need to be mitigated via robust security design measures,” Qualcomm Ventures VP and Global Head Quinn Li said. “Team8 is a world class cybersecurity organization and together we see a number of great opportunities on the horizon.”