Some of the biggest investment rounds were made in two standout start-ups to emerge from Israel's cybersecurity sector in recent years: GuardiCore and Fireglass. Last year these companies — both of which made CNBC's inaugural Upstart 25 list — raised funding rounds of $20 million. GuardiCore, founded in 2013, helps customers detect active breaches inside their data centers in real time, reducing the time it takes for a company to realize it's even been hacked from months to minutes. FireGlass, founded in 2014, uses isolation technology to protect networks. Users browse the internet or read email within the Fireglass service, which effectively places a secure buffer zone between the user and any malicious online content, preventing hackers from reaching the network. Large enterprises and Fortune 100 companies use the services of both companies to secure their data centers and protect their employees.
Although they are separate companies, they share one characteristic that's at the heart of each start-up's meteoric rise: Both the founding teams of GuardiCore and Fireglass contain former members of the Israel Defense Forces.
For nearly four decades the Israeli military has been grooming a new kind of soldier: cybersecurity intelligence experts.
Some are trained in the elite Talpiot program, where they earn degrees in physics, math or computer science. Other soldiers, including some trained in Talpiot, work in the famed intelligence unit of the IDF, credited with creating the Stuxnet virus that infected the computers inside Iran's nuclear enrichment program.