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Slava Bronfman is an experienced manager and entrepreneur in the field of cyber security and the automotive industry. As CEO of Cybellum, he is responsible for sales, marketing and sales operations and works with car manufacturers and suppliers around the world to implement risk assessment solutions.
In the context of Cybellum’s new cybersecurity risk assessment technology, he is the official representative of the Israel Standards Institute on the ISO 21434 Technical Committee and chairs the ISO 21434 Implementation Group.
He is also a member of the NTIA Software Component Transparency Working Group, which is working on the future standardization of BoM software.
He is an evangelist for automotive software risk assessment and ISOSAE21434 and regularly represents him at conferences and at organizations in the automotive industry.
He has a master’s degree. Computer Science, Cum Laude, and Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, Cum Laude.
Cybellum enables OEMs and their suppliers to continuously manage cyber security risks.
In an exclusive interview with the AsiaTechDaily, Slava says…
Because we live in a globalised world and it is very easy for companies to reach their target market through social media and video, they are led to the misconception that they can penetrate any market without having a local presence. I think this is a mistake and will only take your business to a certain point in your target market.
Determine a real market need, a real ‘hot spot’ for your customers, before you decide to build a product and raise money.
Read on to find out more about Slava Bronfman and her background.
Tell me about your personal experiences and what motivated you to work for your company.
Glory to Bronfman: I started my professional career in cyber security in the Israeli army. Being part of cyber intelligence and learning the modern methods and technologies of cyber intelligence was the best education I could get.
During my military service I also met my friend and co-founder of Cybellum, Michael Engstler, and we dedicated ourselves to automating one of the most interesting and difficult tasks in today’s cyber-defensive world – the detection of cyber vulnerabilities of connected devices.
What is your current main product and can you give a product sales history?
Glory to Bronfman: The Cybellum product is based on the Cyber Digital Twin platform. Cybellum engines scan the closed firmware of the connected devices (e.g. ECU) and make a digital copy with all software files of the device (S-BoM) and its properties, including configuration and software streams. In doing so, we reveal what is naturally hidden, i.e. the internal organs in a certain software component, such as an infotainment system in a car, an MRI scanner (sectional) or a smart electricity meter. We then let the security teams look at the results and confirm that there are no gaps in their vulnerability and safety policy.
In addition to the Cyber Digital Twin platform, Cybellum offers two products, one of which is designed to perform a comprehensive risk assessment of the digital twins in terms of software vulnerabilities, compliance with security standards and regulations, etc. The entire safety package ensures full risk transparency and continuous risk management to ensure the safety of the product and safety groups.
How much money have you raised so far? When was the last financing cycle?
Glory to Bronfman: We’ve raised $15 million, including the recently announced Cycle A.
What are the internal decision-making processes that determined the start of fundraising and what logistics are involved? And how many investors did you meet, how did you get to know these investors and which channels worked best for you?
Glory to Bronfman: Our last round of financing was our Series A. In this process, our investors wanted to see a proven market appeal, a strong and inspiring vision and a customer base ready to pick up the phone and testify about how Cybellum enables them to design and produce safe products and maintain their safety position over time.
As soon as we took these steps, we were ready to meet investors.
We started with our investors in Seed, who showed confidence and confirmed that they would participate in the next round. We then joined the global investment community through the Israel Export Institute, which helped organize meetings with foreign investors. RSBG was one of the first companies we met and they arranged it quickly. It took less than two months to complete the whole process.
What are the milestones for the next cycle? And what are your goals for the future?
Glory to Bronfman: The milestone will be a large customer base with large commercial contracts and evidence of a growing trend.
Our goal is to build a great, sustainable company that helps outstanding product safety teams around the world achieve their goals.
How did you attract users and what strategy did you use to grow your business from start to finish?
Glory to Bronfman: We are the only company offering the full cycle of automated vulnerability management, from planning and production to the operational lifecycle of the product. Quality is the best differentiator to look for, and customer satisfaction is the key.
Most of our activities are based on the spoken word.
Our first clients soon became our lawyers and introduced us to their colleagues. This of course serves both our product strategy and the increase in sales. Our investors have also helped to open the doors in question. We are currently strengthening our GTM team to continue our global expansion.
Which software was the best marketing tool to develop your start-up and why?
Glory to Bronfman: Knowing the target group and understanding their needs and concerns is the key to a successful marketing strategy. And by combining online and offline channels, we reach our customers and prospects wherever they are. From now on it’s our product that does all the work. We have a network of local distributors who represent us in their respective regions and we support their efforts through innovative content and social media marketing.
How would you like to develop your activities worldwide?
Glory to Bronfman: We strongly believe in thinking globally and acting locally, i.e. we develop a global strategy and always think about entering additional markets; but the way to do this is through a local presence in each market with the right people and the right partners.
What are the most common mistakes companies make in their global expansion?
Glory to Bronfman: Because we live in a globalised world and it is very easy for companies to reach their target market through social media and video, they are led to the misconception that they can penetrate any market without having a local presence. I think this is a mistake and that it only brings your company to a certain point in the market that you are focusing on.
How do you manage the Kovid 19 flash situation to ensure the survival of your company?
Glory to Bronfman: We have regular meetings with management and the Executive Board to assess the situation and plan our costs and strategy on a quarterly basis so that we can respond quickly to the changing environment around us.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when starting a business?
Glory to Bronfman: It’s about finding a problem with the solution they’ve found.
What is the best advice you have ever received? And what advice can you give to someone who wants to do similar things with you or go in a similar direction?
Glory to Bronfman: Determine a real market need, a real ‘hot spot’ for your customers, before you decide to build a product and raise money.
How do you maintain your motivation on a daily basis?
Glory to Bronfman: Seeing Cybellum grow every day and working with a great group of people gives me energy and great motivation.
What are the three most important life lessons your (future) sons and daughters need to know?
Glory to Bronfman: Just to enjoy the ride.
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