Nofar Schnider, Principal at StageOne Ventures
Link to Cybersecurity Market Analysis deck: bit.ly/3mJhmpn
I was lucky enough to get a front-row seat for the premier of the Israeli cybersecurity ecosystem during my army service in the legendary Unit 8200. It was incredible to see the shift the country, army, and industry were taking– as talent, resources, and efforts were poured into leveraging the knowledge and human capital in Israel.
A few years later I joined XM Cyber and had the chance to develop and sell cybersecurity products – working closely with different types of organizations and banks. It was truly incredible to meet and present to delegations from all over the world participating in cybersecurity events in Israel.
I now continue my cybersecurity journey at StageOne Ventures, which I joined almost three years ago. At StageOne, I have been privileged to work closely with the fund’s active cybersecurity portfolio companies, investing in cybersecurity startups. While we don’t invest exclusively in cybersecurity, we have invested in 10 cybersecurity companies, of which four have already been acquired.
As we approach the end of Q1 2023, I thought it would be an excellent time to take stock of where the cybersecurity market currently is, how we got here, and where we’re headed:
Cybersecurity Funding Slowed, Yet Confidence Remains High
While the global cybersecurity market cooled down in 2022 along with the rest of the global economy, it remains a multi-trillion-dollar force to be reckoned with. According to McKinsey’s survey from October 2022, the cybersecurity vended reached $150 billion and is growing by 12.4% annually.
Total global investment in cybersecurity bears out this strength. Cybersecurity funding hit an all-time high in 2021 with $22.8 billion invested globally, then dropped by a third in 2022. Despite this, the 2022 venture total still represents a 68% increase from 2020 — which was the high watermark for venture funding in the industry until 2021.
The US remains far and away the largest investment geography, with nearly $57 billion invested from Q1 2017 through Q4 2022. Further down the scale, investors entrusted $6.7 billion to Israeli cybersecurity companies during that period and $5.5 billion in Chinese ventures. The UK and France trailed behind, with $3.7 billion and $0.8 billion, respectively.
Investment in Israeli Cybersecurity
The Israeli cybersecurity market tracked global investment and economic trends, with cybersecurity investments peaking in 2021 at $2.8 billion (over 10% of global funding during that year!) yet declining QoQ during H1 2022 by some 25%.
Despite this, investor confidence in Israeli cybersecurity ventures remained strong in 2022. While overall investment amounts were lower, early-stage deal share rose to 75% in H1 2022, compared to 59% in 2021 – indicating the resilience of Israeli cybersecurity as a whole. Late-stage deal share during this period dropped dramatically – aligning with the weak state of public markets.
In line with trends in investment, Israeli cybersecurity unicorns grew at an unprecedented rate during 2021 – with a total of 36 by the end of that year, up from just 6 in 2021. By H1 2022, however, the number of new Israeli unicorns had reached just over half the total of 2021, indicating more conservative valuations alongside the slowdown in new late-stage investments.
Exits – Fewer IPOs, More M&As
The decade from 2011 to 2020 saw significant growth in cybersecurity M&A activity, as technology and cybersecurity companies bought smaller cybersecurity companies to expand their offerings and customer base.
Total exit deal value peaked in 2018 at $15.1 billion, then dropped through 2020 to $6.8 billion. Similarly, cybersecurity IPOs peaked in 2016 at nine offerings, then dropped to just two in 2020.
Experts expect the IPO window to remain more or less closed for cybersecurity companies until public markets fully recover, in late 2023 at the earliest. That said, exits in the form of M&A – which fell in H1 2022 to 26, the lowest level since 2020 – are expected to rise as valuations of cybersecurity companies decline.
Trends: Where Are We Headed?
In recent years, we’ve seen a few cybersecurity trends form:
Also, enterprises now seek to rationalize their large and often overlapping security stacks and expect cybersecurity startups to provide them with quantifiable ROI. This can be challenging for early-stage companies – especially given the abundance of similar solutions. Today’s cybersecurity startups need to work harder to differentiate themselves. They also need to offer more holistic solutions in light of the significant drive towards security stack consolidation among large-scale cybersecurity customers.
Summing it Up
We will probably continue to see incredible cybersecurity startups form and grow all over the world. The market slowdown continues to hit funding, and this bears out in Q1 2023 reports. Yet as cyber threats grow alongside legal and regulatory requirements for cyber protection, the cyber market will continue to flourish despite the fallout from the rocky global economic climate. I will definitely be on the lookout, waiting to see more amazing cybersecurity companies form.
 Source: CBInsights
 Source: CBInsights
 Source: CBInsights’ State of Cybersecurity Report Q2 2022
 Source: CrunchBase
 Source: Gartner, CBInsights, Forbes