MBAs need not apply. Military service makes Israeli techies tougher with the kind of experience that is only born out of that battle-readiness. Tufin Technologies CEO and co-founder Ruvi Kitov is no exception to this rule and argues that teen conscripts assigned to tech units receive training “akin to a bachelor’s degree in computer science”.
Kitov’s journey from entry into the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) to entrepreneurial success in cybersecurity spans two cultures and continents. After finishing his service, Kitov moved to America to be closer to his family and attended the University of Maryland where he received his computer science degree.
Following his graduation, he returned to Israel and started out his internet security career on the encryption team at Check Point Software. After five years, Kitov and his business partner, Reuven Harrison, co-founded Tufin Technologies in 2005. He credits Check Point as a springboard for striking out on his own.
“It has really been an incubator for a lot of current security startups,” says Kitov. “It’s cool that a lot of the people that I worked with at Check Point are now CEOs or founders of all sorts of companies. There’s a great pool of talent and a lot of really smart people who work there.”
Originally based in Tel Aviv, Kitov and Harrison bootstrapped the company for the first four years. “We were just doing it ourselves with a couple of employees, and we were able to build something compelling yet simple enough that a small team of people could write it in under a year,” Kitov said.
They took their first product, SafeTrack, from concept to creation in record time and began selling their security policy management system to customers around the world. “By the end of 2004, we sold SecureTrack to enough customers to help us fund the next level of growth, so we were able to hire more people and develop some channel partners,” Kitov recalled. “We continued from there. That’s kind of the story of the beginning of this exciting journey.”
Since then, the cybersecurity company has grown in scope and size. They opened the doors to their Boston-based U.S. headquarters in mid 2017 and have recently announced their intention to raise $100 million in a U.S. IPO. They serve over 2,000 customers that span the globe, including 40 of the Fortune 100 companies.
The last three years running, they have been named one of JMP Securities “Super 70” – an honor given to the most promising and strategically-positioned private companies in the cybersecurity, data management and communication infrastructure industries. Tufin has also received Cyber Defense Magazines 2018 InfoSec Award for “Most Innovative Company – Network Security and Management” and the Cybersecurity Excellence Award for “Fastest Growing Cybersecurity Company”.
The company develops and markets their Tufin Orchestration Suite which consists of SecureTrack, which ensures firewall operations management and compliance; SecureChange, that sees to security change automation; and SecureApp, which protects through application connectivity management.