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April 11, 2022 11:44 am

Cybersecurity Startup Founded by IDF’s Unit 8200 Commander Raises $23 Million Seed Round

avatar by Meir Orbach / CTech

IDF soldiers working with computer technology. Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Office.

CTech – Cybersecurity startup Sentra, co-founded by Asaf Kochan, the outgoing Commander of the IDF’s cyber Unit 8200, has raised a $23 million Seed round from Oren Zeev, Bessemer Venture Partners and senior angel investors, Calcalist has learned.

The company was founded in July 2021 and is still maintaining secrecy regarding its activity. Sentra was founded by Kochan together with Ron Reiter, a Unit 8200 alum who co-founded startup Crosswise, which was sold to Oracle for $50 million in 2016; Yoav Regev, who headed Unit 8200’s Cyber Department under Kochan until last February; and Yair Cohan, a Senior Product Manager at Datadog, which has a market cap of over $40 billion on Nasdaq. Sentra currently employs dozens of people out of its Tel Aviv offices, with most employees specializing in cybersecurity and data.

Sentra aims to help cloud-based businesses create a real-time and comprehensive picture of their sensitive data being held in public cloud environments in order to accelerate the organization’s performance. Sentra’s co-founders reached out to around 200 companies prior to founding their startup, asking what they knew about their information. At Calcalist‘s recent London conference, Kochan noted that “the cloud today actually ‘devours’ everything. If in the past we talked about software ‘devouring’ the world, then today cloud platforms ‘devour’ the world.”

In a world in which most organizations are transferring most of the activity to cloud storage, Sentra believes that there is a need to protect the critical information and its availability and that it no longer makes sense just to protect a physical environment of specific hardware held by the organization. Sentra’s platform maps, classifies and secures an organization’s sensitive data, which should it be exposed could significantly affect a company’s bottom line.

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“I spoke for eight months with many senior executives around the world and asked them if they know where their data is stored. Most of the companies put all the data on the cloud but don’t actually know where it is being stored,” Kochan added. “The second question I asked was do they know where their sensitive data is stored, as in encrypted data, personal information and financial information. Most don’t really know where it is and it is very difficult to protect information if you don’t know its location. The third question I asked them was how much does it pain them that they don’t know where their data is stored. And it became clear that this is a real pain point for organizations, but most of them have gotten used to a situation in which they don’t know everything about their data.”

Sentra is entering a sector with plenty of competition, including Israeli company Cyera, which raised $56 million just two weeks ago.

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