Security is the venture industry’s most active segment. It is also the most crowded segment, and unless you have deep domain knowledge, you cannot play in the business. Aki and his brother do have deep domain knowledge and have leveraged that to build an exciting company.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Aki Eldar: I was born in Israel more than 50 years ago. I’m just past 50. Like any typical Israeli, I graduated high school, moved to military and finished my military duties. I also worked for the Israeli government for a few years. Then, I graduated with a Bachelor in Management and Economics and started my journey in the high tech industry.
Sramana Mitra: What year did you finish your education and enter the industry?
Aki Eldar: It was 1995 – 20 years ago.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do as your first job?
Aki Eldar: Sales rep. My whole journey in the high tech industry started and continued, until Secure Islands, in different sales roles – Sales Rep, Head of Sales, Head of Division, Head of Business Unit, and VP Sales. In my last position, I was responsible for annual revenues of $50 million.
Sramana Mitra: What kind of a company was this?
Aki Eldar: The company was a system integrator called Bynet.
Sramana Mitra: Were you based in Israel or US?
Aki Eldar: In Israel, but part of my responsibilities were branches in Europe and USA.
Sramana Mitra: When did you leave that company?
Aki Eldar: A little more than eight years ago in order to found Secure Islands.
Sramana Mitra: What was the premise of Secure Islands? When you left your previous company to start Secure Islands, what did you see around you that told you that this was something you wanted to do? Give me the circumstances and the visceral feeling.
Aki Eldar: I left a good job and jumped into the deep waters of entrepreneurship with a lot of risk.
Sramana Mitra: Why? You must have felt a lot conviction about what you were planning to do. Tell us more about the concept.
Aki Eldar: First of all, before the concept, I think it’s a personal state of mind, which leads to a lot of passion to create something from scratch. It’s not only technology. It’s not only if you have the right financing to do it or if you have the necessary background. You need a state of mind in order to decide such a thing because you’re in a place harbor. Now, you’re going to a journey with a lot of obstacles. You must have a passion to do so. This is my first statement about why I did such a thing.