Poalim Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of Bank HaPoalim, has backed startup ThetaRay, which specializes in protecting critical infrastructure. ThetaRay was founded by two renowned mathematicians, Prof. Amir Averbuch of Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Ronald Coifman of Yale, and its beginnings can be traced to the JVP Cyber Labs incubator. ThetaRay has also received investments from JVP and GE.
Poalim Capital Markets (PCM), the investment banking arm of Bank HaPoalim, announced today that it is investing in the startup ThetaRay which specializes in protecting critical infrastructure, as part of Poalim’s FinTech investment portfolio.
The move comes in the wake of the growing significance of cyber-security for large financial institutions. Throughout the past 18 months, Poalim’s FinTech division has partnered with the group’s technology division and Poalim Capital Markets to lead key investment initiatives in promising financial technology startups. Suitable candidates receive consulting and guidance from the bank’s experts, as well as access to its technological development center, in order to enable them to test their ideas once they reach beta release status.
ThetaRay is a promising cyber-security company that traces its beginnings to the JVP Cyber Labs incubator, having developed a unique solution for the protection of critical infrastructure.
The company was founded by renowned mathematicians Prof. Amir Averbuch of Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Ronald Coifman of Yale, who developed unique algorithms through over seven years of academic research. The company, led by CEO Mark Gazit, utilizes these unique algorithms to present a new cyber-security paradigm.
ThetaRay’s solutions identify Zero Day threats and APT attacks, amongst others. Zero Day exploits are based on previously unknown vulnerabilities that plague computer applications, specifically ones that developers have not addressed or patched before an attacker takes advantage of them. APT attacks are covert hostile operations by unknown attackers who customize the method to their mark, using malicious code and technical skills that are very difficult to detect or identify.
The platform and algorithms developed by ThetaRay were designed to respond to critical infrastructures’ need for protection, also common to strategic facilities, communication systems and large-scale financial institutions. Some examples of such entities would be nuclear power plants, command and control systems, telecommunication networks, banks etc. The company’s solutions have been successfully deployed by large commercial entities, government, and homeland security organizations in Israel and around the world.
“Cyber-security is one of the fastest growing domains in Israel and on a global scale, and we closely follow its development as part of the FinTech investment portfolio we manage” says Eran Gerscht, Managing Director of Poalim Capital Markets and leader of the group’s FinTech investment initiatives. “In a world where critical infrastructures become increasingly dependent on computerized systems and threats are constantly evolving in scope and sophistication, a true need has emerged for the type of cyber-security solution ThetaRay brings to the market. The unique quality of ThetaRay’s solution positions it as one of the most interesting companies in the information security and cyber-defense space. The company’s activities within the JVP Cyber Labs and its strategic alliance with GE further strengthen the business opportunity we see in it.”
Mark Gazit, ThetaRay’s CEO adds: “The investment from Poalim, which joins JVP and GE, is wind in ThetaRay’s sails and forms a solid recommendation to other large financial institutions to implement the company’s unique solution in order to protect their infrastructure. ThetaRay can further detect and expose operational anomalies, beyond the detection of cyber threats, and thus becomes a core solution for every large organization aiming to ensure its continued, secure operations.”
“We welcome Bank HaPoalim’s decision to invest in ThetaRay, which proved its significant competitive advantage within a very short time by developing a groundbreaking, innovative solution,” says Yoav Tzruya, Partner in JVP’s Cyber Labs. “ThetaRay’s ability to detect threats that other solutions cannot see is a strategic advantage for any financial system that has to ensure its own optimal, continuous up-time.”
Tzruya continues, “ThetaRay embodies JVP Cyber Labs’ unique investment approach: making early stage investments in companies that have a marked potential to change existing paradigms; fusing strategic collaborations like those signed with GE and Bank HaPoalim; and moving them forward towards market leadership and technological breakthrough on an international level.”
ABOUT POALIM CAPITAL MARKETS:
Poalim Capital Markets is Israel’s leading investment bank providing a full range of global products and services. PCM is a subsidiary of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest financial group. Since its establishment in 1990, PCM has played a major role in shaping the Israeli economy by providing international investment banking services, advising on numerous M&A transactions, structuring private equity funds, and leading the local underwriting market (through Poalim IBI).
PCM’s diversified Private Equity (PE) platform manages and monitors the group’s private equity investment activities locally and internationally, including direct investments and co-investments across a wide range of sectors: alternative energy, life sciences, mezzanine, infrastructure, distressed, turnaround and growth equity.
Together with its US strategic partner, William Blair & Company, PCM offers clients end-to-end, best-of-breed international investment banking solutions and advisory services, including public offerings on US exchanges, mergers & acquisitions and cross border private placements. PCM, in conjunction with international partners in China and India, provide investors and businesses a broad range of cross-border opportunities in some of the fastest growing markets in the world. Poalim Asia Direct, based in Beijing, China, provides tailor-made solutions to foreign corporations seeking the most effective entry, expansion and investment opportunities in China’s growing markets. PCM holds 19.97% of Poalim IBI’s shares.
ThetaRay was founded by two renowned mathematicians, Prof. Amir Averbuch of Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Ronald Coifman of Yale, and its beginnings can be traced to the JVP Cyber Labs incubator. ThetaRay’s solutions detect cyber threats and attacks on critical infrastructure, strategic facilities, communication networks and large financial institutions. The company’s products are based on advanced, proprietary mathematical algorithms that were specifically developed with the purpose of collecting, processing and analyzing data from a large variety of sources in order to detect anomalies in a Big Data environment.
The unique algorithms have proven their effectiveness in applications like process supervision, performance monitoring, identifying trends, and more. ThetaRay’s solution provides unmatched detection rates of cyber threats while drastically reducing the false positive rate. ThetaRay accords complete transparency to the user and is exceptionally efficient from a computational standpoint. The company’s technology has been patented both in Israel and internationally. ThetaRay has received investments from JVP, GE and Poalim Capital Markets.