What’s does it feel like to do a startup with your dad?
“It’s like ‘Duck Dynasty.’ Only without hair,” jokes Asaf Cidon, co-founder and CEO of a file-sharing startup called Sookasa that came out of stealth this week.
He’s pointing out the obvious visual differences between the Cidon family’s scalp and chin regions and that of the Robertsons, the famed bushy-bearded family that stars in A&E’s hit reality series.
There are a few other differences. Asaf is the son and the CEO of Sookasa, which technically makes him his dad’s boss. But if you ask him if that means his dad has to follow his orders, Asaf only laughs.
And, instead of making duck calls for hunters, Asaf and his dad, Israel Cidon (who is CTO), offer a cloud service that secures files stored in popular cloud storage apps. Its claim to fame is that it adds HIPPA security to files, so doctors can use Dropbox, Gmail, etc., while complying with health care laws. Ditto for helping lawyers comply with their industry’s security regulations while using popular cloud storage.
Sookasa raised $US5 million from Accel Partners, backed by Sameer Gandhi (investor of Dropbox, and security company Sourcefire).
Equally interesting is how this father/son duo decided to go into business together. It was almost by accident. Dad Israel was formerly an electrical engineering professor at Technion University in Israel, which is like the Stanford University there. This is his fourth startup. He previously co-founded Actona, (acquired by Cisco); Viola (acquired by Fluke Networks); and Micronet (public, MCRNL).
Son Asaf was earning his doctorate at Stanford, and both father and son like to geek out together and build apps. They were building one that will turn your air conditioner on a half-hour before you get home. While passing files back and forth on such projects, they realised they weren’t happy with how secure their files were. They got distracted by fixing that problem, Asaf told Business Insider.
Asaf showed the file security project to his Stanford professor, who introduced him to Accel’s Gandhi and a startup was born, he said.
While there’s a lot of competition in the enterprise secure file-sharing market these days (Alfresco, Box, Watchdox, Egnyte, etc.), Sookasa has the early markers for success. In addition to the serial success of his dad, and its VC backers, it has Taher Elgamal on its advisory board. He’s CTO of security at Salesforce.com, and the famous creator of the security encryption tech known as SSL used by every Internet browser.
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