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Where Cybersecurity Startups Look For Top Talent

Amid increased competition for programmers and the ongoing hunt for funding, many Israeli tech startups are looking outside the box to recruit top talent.

As The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday (Oct. 21), these companies are now poaching former military and intelligence officers to help provide a competitive edge in Israel’s booming tech landscape.

Due to the close ties between the country’s military and its startup scene, a growing number of companies are looking to capitalize on the innovation fostered in fields like cybersecurity and homeland security.

“There is a governmental focus on making Israel a cyberleader, and the prime minister is very involved. I’m optimistic that Israel can become one of the top two cybersecurity hubs in the world,” Nadav Zafrir, founder of team8, a VC firm in Tel Aviv focused on investing in cybersecurity companies, told Entrepreneur last month.

For a young company, having former Israeli military personnel on its roster has the potential to not only give the startup clout with prospective clients but also open the door to additional funding and networking opportunities, WSJ explained.

“With governmental clients, like homeland security departments, the fact that someone they knew in a previous military role is sitting across the table is valuable,” Nimrod Kozlovski, a partner at cybersecurity-focused venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners, told WSJ.

For FST21, a cybersecurity startup that uses biometric and behavioral recognition to verify identities, bringing former prime minister and retired Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak onto its board was an important move.

Barak explained to WSJ that young founders have much to learn from their experienced hires.

“It’s a combination of the freshness of the tech entrepreneurs and their innovative curiosity, with the experience of the veterans,” he added.

Earlier this year Israeli cloud security company Adallom, where retired Brig. Gen. Pinchas Buchris served as VP of cyberstrategy, was bought by Microsoft for $320 million.

While the transition may not always be easy, requiring many veteran hires to adjust to reporting to a board of directors and working within a flat organization, the results can be well worth it.

Many of the former military individuals that now work for up-and-coming startups expressed satisfaction in helping to foster innovation and growth in the field where they have garnered expertise through years of service to their country.

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