Microsoft and Qualcomm invested in an Israeli startup factory set up by 3 ex-IDF members

Nadav Team8Team8Nadav Zafrir, CEO of Team8 and former Commander of Israel’s Technology & Intelligence Unit 8200.

Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Citigroup have made an investment in an Israeli startup facility set up by three former members of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

Team8, founded by Nadav Zafrir, Liran Grinberg, and Israel Grinberg, announced on Monday that it has received an undisclosed investment from the corporates that it will use to help it develop its portfolio of cybersecurity startups.

A Team8 spokesman refused to be drawn on the figure but it’s likely to amount to tens of millions of dollars.

The startup backer, which describes itself as cross between a venture capital firm, a think tank, and a startup incubator, has already raised $92 million (£75 million) for its “syndicate.” Other organisations that have previously invested money in Team8 include Cisco, AT&T, Accenture, Nokia Temasek, Mitsui, Bessemer Venture Partners, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavours, and Marker LLC.

“Our global cyber syndicate is one of the strongest in the world,” claimed Zafrir, CEO of Team8 and former commander of Israel’s illustrious technology & intelligence unit 8200, which is essentially the nation’s cyber spy agency. “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.”

Nagraj Kashyap, corporate VP at Microsoft Ventures, said in a statement: “Israel’s tech ecosystem is well-known worldwide for its innovation and creativity, and its expertise in cybersecurity truly stands out. Microsoft will work closely with Team8 to explore and research some of the major challenges the world is facing with cybersecurity today.”

During its first commercial year of operations in 2016, Team8 claims that its portfolio companies generated more than $22 million (£18 million) in sales. Since its launch two and a half years ago, the group has grown to 180 employees in Israel, US, UK, and Singapore and intends to hire 100 more in 2017.

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