SAN FRANCISCO and TEL AVIV, April 6, 2021 -- YL Ventures, the prominent seed-stage global venture capital firm investing in Israeli cybersecurity startups, today announced that Andy Ellis, former CSO of Akamai Technologies, will join the YL Ventures team as Operating Partner.
Ellis is a well-known industry leader who pioneered the CSO role over his 20-year tenure at Akamai. Joining YL Ventures, Ellis will leverage his extensive and interdisciplinary experience in the cybersecurity field to guide Israeli entrepreneurs through ideation and market validation processes pre-investment, as well as support YL Ventures portfolio companies post-investment with product development and understanding customer needs.
At Akamai, Ellis was a driving force behind transforming the company into a major security player, growing its security business to more than $1B in annual revenue and guiding Akamai's IT transformation to a distributed, zero-trust enterprise based on strong authentication. Ellis also led Akamai’s security portfolio, functionally operating as a stealth startup inside the content delivery business. Currently, Ellis is the CEO and principal at leadership development firm Duha. His cross-functional experience building, marketing and selling security solutions blends with his background as a security customer and organizational leader, making him an invaluable asset to early-stage cybersecurity startups.
For the past four years, Ellis has served as a venture advisor at YL Ventures, among 90+ global CISOs and cybersecurity executives from Fortune 100 and high-growth companies, providing Israeli cybersecurity entrepreneurs with tools for success in a competitive global market. Ellis currently serves as an advisor to YL Ventures portfolio companies Orca Security and Vulcan Cyber and made several angel investments alongside YL Ventures.
In a natural evolution of his advisory position, as an operating partner, Ellis will take a more active and hands-on role, expanding YL Ventures’ value-add services to Israeli startups, accelerating their roadmaps and supporting them with product-market fit, go-to-market strategies and managing customer pipelines.
“During the years of my partnership with YL Ventures, I have seen the significant impact and influence it has on cybersecurity startups’ success,” said Ellis. “This new role will provide me with an even greater ability to mentor and guide some of the most brilliant minds in the cybersecurity industry coming out of Israel and to support them in bringing cutting edge solutions to the market.”
“With a career devoted to cyber risk and understanding how customers make decisions, Andy Ellis is an exceptional thinker, problem-solver and team-leader. Ellis’ expertise across disciplines will be vital to the growth of YL Ventures portfolio companies,” said managing partner Yoav Leitersdorf. “This role reinforces the mission of YL Ventures to focus on promising Israeli seed-stage startups in the cybersecurity sector and foster them from seed to lead,” added Leitersdorf.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with Andy Ellis as an advisor to Vulcan Cyber since its early days. I can’t stress enough how impactful his support has been from product to messaging to closing customers,” said Yaniv Bar Dayan, CEO & co-founder of YL Ventures’ portfolio company Vulcan Cyber. “Having an industry expert like Andy within YL Ventures will help build stronger teams by providing them with a customer perspective and competitive edge that is so crucial in these early stages.”
About YL Ventures
YL Ventures funds and supports brilliant Israeli tech entrepreneurs from seed to lead. Based in Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, YL Ventures manages over $300 million and specializes in cybersecurity. YL Ventures accelerates the evolution of portfolio companies via strategic advice and U.S.-based operational execution, leveraging a powerful network of Chief Information Security Officers and global industry leaders. The firm's track record includes successful, high-profile portfolio company acquisitions by major corporations including Palo Alto Networks, Microsoft, CA and Proofpoint.
Heading the fund is Silicon Valley-based Managing Partner Yoav Andrew Leitersdorf, a serial entrepreneur and early-stage investor for over 25 years. Yoav works alongside Partner John Brennan in the U.S., while Partner & Head of Israeli Office Ofer Schreiber leads the Tel Aviv office together with Chief Marketing Officer, Sharon Seemann. With a multidisciplinary team of 15 spread across two offices, YL Ventures has engrained itself in both the U.S. and Israeli cybersecurity ecosystems.