IL Tech in NY
Israel and New York have more similarities than differences, say Semperis execs
Semperis joined CTech for its IL Tech in NY series in collaboration with Israeli Mapped in NY to share how Israel and New York cultures are actually rather similar
“There are actually many more similarities regarding the work cultures of New York and Israel,” revealed the executives from cybersecurity firm Semperis. “For example, both are known for having a very strong work ethic. However, in New York City, or in the U.S. in general, it is much more common to work from home, and perhaps there’s an expectation of more flexibility.”
While everyone today is working from home due to Covid-19, it seems that the similarities between Israel and New York go beyond remote working environments. Semperis joined CTech to discuss work ethic, culture, and even Broadway.
Company name: Semperis
Field of activity/product: Cybersecurity
- Mickey Bresman, CEO (New York-based)
- Guy Teverovsky, CTO (Tel Aviv-based)
- Matan Liberman, EVP Business Development (Tel Aviv-based)
Year of founding/start of New York operations: 2015
Number of employees and whether the company is active in other locations:
Semperis is headquartered in New Jersey and operates internationally, with its research and development team distributed between San Francisco and Tel Aviv. The company is made up of over 90 employees and growing rapidly. Other active regions with satellite offices include the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia.
Sum of total funding to date/funding rounds completed: $54 million total to date (latest $40 million series b round in May 2020)
Names of investors/VC backers:
- Insight Partners
- World Trade Ventures
- Silvertech Ventures
General background on the founders/senior managers (how long have you been in New York City? What brought you here? What did you do beforehand?)
Mickey Bresman (CEO) relocated to New York from Israel in 2015 to build out Semperis’ U.S. operations.
Mickey Bresman is a co-founder of Semperis and leads the company’s overall strategic vision and implementation. A long-time enterprise software expert, Mickey began his technical career in the Navy computing technical unit over a decade ago. Prior to co-founding Semperis, Mickey was the CTO of a Microsoft gold partner integration company, YouCC Technologies, successfully growing the company’s overall performance year over year. Mickey holds a BA in Technical Management and a Minor in Electronic Engineering.
Guy Teverovsky (CTO) is based in Tel Aviv, leading the research and development teams.
For more than a decade, Guy Teverovsky has been working closely with multiple large-scale enterprise customers, assisting with the design, architecture, implementation, and optimization of IAM-related technologies. Prior to co-founding Semperis and becoming the CTO, he was a Senior Premier Field Engineer at Microsoft, acting as lead and mentor for Active Directory. In the past, Guy has been recognized by Microsoft as a Directory Services MVP for his expertise and involvement in the technical community and has contributed to multiple Microsoft blogs.
Matan Liberman (EVP Business Development) is based in Tel Aviv leading business development and operations.
Matan is a co-founder of Semperis and leads the company’s Israeli arm, as well as research and development. He began his career as a software engineer in the Israel Defense Force, implementing mission-critical systems for the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, prior to getting promoted to Development Team Leader. In this role, Matan gained extensive Microsoft experience and was charged with leading the development of the organizational identity management system from the ground up.
Background on the product/service/platform/solution:
Today, defending identity infrastructures is a top priority for cybersecurity teams everywhere. Most ransomware attacks pivot off of manipulating the identities managed and controlled, at some level, by Microsoft Active Directory. As the gatekeeper to critical applications and data in 90% of organizations worldwide, AD is a prime target for attackers attempting to steal credentials and deploy ransomware across the network. But even though AD is foundational to the IT infrastructure, many organizations are a step behind in securely managing it, particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic accelerates the adoption of remote workers, cloud services, and devices.
In a nutshell, Semperis partners with government agencies and Global 2000 enterprises to empower comprehensive protection for their directory services on-premises and in the cloud. We've delivered first-of-its-kind solutions to address the entire lifecycle of a directory attack – from finding and fixing security vulnerabilities, to intercepting privilege escalation and persistence, and quickly responding to ransomware and other data integrity emergencies. On the disaster recovery side, we’ve introduced the only backup and recovery solution purpose-built to recover AD from cyber disasters like ransomware and wiper attacks. Fully automating the AD forest recovery process, our solution virtually eliminates the risk of malware re-infection during restoration, prevents human errors, and reduces downtime to minutes instead of days or even weeks.
Why New York? What advantages does it offer? How does the market differ from Israel? How does the competition differ?
New York has the biggest hub of enterprises in the U.S., maybe even in the world. It’s an ideal location if you want your customers to have easy access to your team and engage in meaningful conversation. Getting customer input often is critical for a high growth business like Semperis, and this is a lot easier when you can meet face-to-face, in person. Being a train stop away creates the perfect environment to be close to customers, partners, and investors and have an open line of communication with them. Thinking globally, New York is a domestic and international hub, so it’s easy to get where you want to go at all times, making it very simple to reach customers all over the map. New York has so much to offer, the opportunities are limitless.
Two things you learned about the U.S. market from operating in New York:
There are unique working cultures across pretty much every region of the U.S. People in different cities and states have their own way of doing things. We’ve found that different U.S. customers, and certain industry sectors, do not share the same pain points across the board. It’s important to familiarize yourself and accommodate various working styles and business challenges in order to build trust and strong communication with your customers. From a cultural perspective, New York, for example, is an extremely fast-paced environment as opposed to other areas of the country that might operate at a different speed. These details, no matter how minor, need to be taken into account when working with customers.
Two things you learned about American investors as a result of starting operations there:
Semperis already had U.S. investors before moving our headquarters officially to New York but being in New York City provided us with much more exposure. As everyone knows, investors don’t just invest in technology, but also the leadership team. It all comes down to people at the end of the day. Being in New York City, we were able to meet face-to-face with prospective investors and this allowed us to grow our network more organically and accelerate relationships. The investors became even more team-oriented and provided enormous value-add through mentoring and networking.
Two suggestions for Israeli entrepreneurs on what to do in New York:
Simply get involved in the community, network, and feel the rhythm of New York City.
Outside of business, take advantage of all the unique cultural opportunities such as Broadway, restaurants, music, and the night-life scene. New York City has so much to offer!
Two suggestions for Israeli entrepreneurs on what not to do in New York:
Funny enough, I’d warn you not to expect public transportation to be very intuitive. Make sure you know where you’re going before getting on the train. It could be smart to even study the subway systems before relying on them for transportation. Also, there’s something very unique to New York City I learned when I first moved here: be sure to avoid pausing or walking slowly in the middle of the sidewalk. You’ll disrupt the entire fast-paced, walking flow of the city!
On a scale of 1-10 how much did the Covid-19 pandemic impact your work? Please expand in your own words the positive and negative effects the outbreak had on your company.
When Covid-19 started, we were really focused on making sure our employees were safe and healthy, first and foremost. Adapting to the new reality, working from home was a very new situation for me since we did a lot of our business in-person. Don’t get me wrong, we’re fortunate that Semperis is a tech company and as a whole, the company has been able to adjust extremely well. We’ve been able to continue to grow the team, innovate, and expand our product offerings. Cybersecurity is one of those areas that is a necessity for organizations during both the good times and the tough times. We’re mission-driven to help organizations, especially on the front lines to be as cyber resilient as possible.
What are the differences when it comes to recruiting employees (advantages and disadvantages)?
We as a company have a remote work culture and from day one Semperis has focused on hiring people based on talent, instead of geographic location. Pre-pandemic, that process included the employee often coming in to meet face-to-face at our New York City office or at one of our satellite offices across the U.S. Now, our onboarding has changed slightly to meet the needs of a remote environment, but the location of talent we hire has always been very diverse.
What are some of the workplace culture differences between Israel and New York?
There are actually many more similarities regarding the work cultures of New York and Israel. For example, both are known for having a very strong work ethic. However, in New York City – or in the U.S. in general - it is much more common to work from home, and perhaps there’s an expectation of more flexibility.
The IL Tech in NY project is a collaboration between CTech and Israeli Mapped in NY. For more information: Franklin@IsraeliMappedinNY.com