Founder Interview: Dr Sagi Lazarov & Nimrod Luria from Prifender

We’re just a month away from seeing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced across Europe which will replace the old Data Protection Directives that were drawn up in the 1990s. A lot has changed in two decades. Vast swathes of personal data are now generated daily and the upgrade in data protection laws for citizens living in a democracy is well overdue.

With the new regulations coming into play on 25th May, we decided to interview the founders of Prifender, (an iAngels portfolio company) Dr Sagi Leizerov and Nimrod Luria, who have developed an AI driven automation system for managing data privacy. Read on to discover what they believe these changes mean.   

 Firstly, can you tell us what the GDPR is and why we need it?

The GDPR is being introduced as a means of strengthening data privacy for Europeans by replacing the old Data Protection Directives. The GDPR website  describes the new directive as being designed to “harmonize data privacy laws across Europe and to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy”.

There’s been 4 years of preparation and debate since the GDPR was approved by the EU Parliament back in April 2016. Companies have been given 2 years in which to comply, with those who don’t comply at risk of facing significant fines.

The GDPR is expected to have significant impact on data governance and management and will impact enterprise software companies across the board.

With the GDPR enforcement date fast approaching, what is the level of enterprise readiness to comply?

Both Forrester and the International Association of Privacy Professionals have studied the question of GDPR compliance and found that many companies (the majority in the case of the IAPP study) will not be able to fully comply by its due date. According to the IAPP, only 4 in 10 companies will be ready by the compliance date. Forrester, which arrived at similar numbers, has even said that many companies are most likely overstating their readiness for GDPR.

Even those companies taking active steps to improve their preparedness for the regulation are facing significant challenges when it comes to the effectiveness of their compliance.  Traditional means for privacy compliance tend to emphasize policies, contracts and training (sometimes referred to as “paper compliance”) rather than controls and control-monitoring.  Without automated controls over the impacted data, it’s almost impossible to really know whether day to day activities are meeting what the policies and contracts are stating. 

What do you think would be the implication for non-compliance and which enterprises would be impacted the most?

To best understand the impact of non-compliance we need to keep in mind that the GDPR includes, for the first-time in the EU, broad breach notification requirements. This means that when companies will experience a security incident (i.e., an inappropriate access or disclosure of personal information), they will have to reach out to both their privacy regulators and the impacted individual to reveal the breach.  These notifications will lead to an audit of the company’s level of preparedness, and any identified gaps in their GDPR compliance will be viewed in the context of the breach.  In other words, compliance violations will be assessed based on the severity of the data breach. Consequences could mean reputational damage for organizations, fines or indirect costs such as increased audit requirements and challenges in signing up new customers as well as others. 

As this regulation concerns the personal information of European residents, will its impact be limited to European organizations?

It’s foreseen that the GDPR will have a global impact, mainly for two reasons: Firstly, it will apply to any organization that uses the personal information of EU residents, even if that organization is not based or is not operating in the EU.

Secondly, it will also apply to EU organizations that operate outside of the EU i.e., it will apply to non-EU residents that transact with an EU entity.

Beyond these two reasons, many international organizations will find it easy to adopt one set of requirements across their entire enterprise, rather than creating a patchwork of requirements for each operating entity in different countries. For this reason, we’re likely to see more organizations adopting global privacy standards that follow the GDPR’s high bar.

How do you expect this market to develop and how big do you feel the opportunity is?

The question should instead be, what we describe as being the market? While the market for GDPR related solutions is large and is likely to continue to grow over the coming years, there is an even larger and more promising market developing which is the opportunity generated by monetizing and profiting from personal information at scale. Personal data is a valuable asset that can generate significant revenue through the analysis, sharing, sale and its connectivity to different sources.

At a time when privacy regulations are tightening up and more people are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of data privacy, monetizing personal data is a challenge leading many organization to either avoid monetizing it completely, doing something small scale or worse, hiding the fact they’re monetizing data. With sophisticated technologies for tracking personal data coming into the market, a highly lucrative (and compliant) market is steadily opening up to organizations from a wide span of different industry sectors. For this market, the size of the opportunity is tremendous.

Can you tell us a little about the response and traction Prifender is getting so far?

Prifender represents a real paradigm shift in how organizations can manage personal information.  The technology is not an incremental step forward, it is a leap forward. The two reactions we’re currently receiving, when we show the technology to privacy professionals for the first time is that “its magic!”  and second comes, “I need it.”  Suffice to say that we’re getting very positive reactions and interest in Prifender as we continue to grow.

Read more about Prifender here.




Founder Interview: Kobi Marenko, Arbe Robotics

2017 has seen some big wins for the Israeli autonomous vehicle sector, with Mobileye’s sale for $15.3B at the beginning of the year and just last week, Argus, the Tel Aviv based autonomous cyber security startup was sold for a reported $430M. Founded in just 2013, its sale and that of Mobileye, demonstrates how rapidly the automotive industry is evolving and how Israel is primed to drive its transformation.      
We’ve been charting the sector’s growth and have been investing in it for several years now, with Arbe Robotics being one of our more recent investments. So to get a sense of how those on the inside are feeling with all this good news, we spoke to Arbe Robotics founder, Kobi Morenko, about what he believes this latest sale means for autonomous vehicles and Israel.

With another big win for the autonomous vehicle sector last week, is confidence running high?

“The Argus deal highlights that companies… with the right technology have a huge opportunity to capitalize on an industry that’s going through a period of huge transformation. And Israel is best placed to capitalize.

Why so?

“Because Israel is leading the way when it comes to R&D for autonomous driving. The innovation in the Israeli market is a close second to that of Silicon Valley and certainly far superior than any other place in the world.

All the large automotive manufactures & tier 1s (their integrators) have R&D centers in Israel or have at least a scouting team on the ground. I think that in the next few years we’ll be seeing overseas entrepreneurs basing themselves in Israel in order to tap into the local knowledge base. And if not base themselves here, they’ll look for an Israeli co-founder simply because this is where the talent pool is so strong.”

It all sounds very positive but there must been some areas of caution or challenges?

“For us the bad news is that the big players in the industry are showing that they’re not going anywhere. I can’t foresee much change happening in the next ten years  –  the majority of cars on the road will still be produced by the existing manufactures who will continue to have the stronghold thanks to relationships with their existing tier 1s.

It therefore means that the majority of automotive startups will be purchased and we won’t see the likes of Facebook, Uber or Amazon of autonomous driving. Instead, we’ll see 99% of successful startups being bought with valuations around the price of this deal ±.

Another point to consider is China, the world’s largest vehicle market, has recently announced its plan to end the production and sale of fossil fuel cars. This could have a huge impact on the balance of power between Chinese and Western manufacturers. We could see that in 10 years from now, the Chinese market, controlled by local companies, could quite easily conquer market share in the West, where the main asset of manufacturers is fossil fuel engines.”

How has 2017 been for Arbe Robotics?

“Regarding Arbe Robotics, we’re happy to announce that we finished a $9M A round, our prototype is working strongly and showed a 1 degree azimuth resolution, which is the key for autonomous driving, before any other player in the world. And we already have several fee paying customers that will begin driving with our product installed during this quarter and into early next year. So things are certainly looking healthy for us too.”

Find out more about Arbe Robotics