Lior Yaari, co-founder and CEO of Grip Security, who assessed and provided advice on the company’s investments in cybersecurity while serving as the CTO of YL Ventures prior to joining Grip Security. He also held the position of Chief of Cyber Training for Unit 8200 of the Israeli Intelligence Corps, building a history of security engineering and research.
Below are highlights of the interview:
Why did you choose SaaS industry to work in?
Historically, SaaS spend was the responsibility of IT and technical groups, such as security, DevOps, and engineering. However, because of the rapid growth of business-led IT strategy, SaaS spending outside of IT budgets, processes, or protections, some experts, such as KPMG, predict that by 2030, 85 percent of SaaS will be business-led SaaS, fundamentally changing the composition of the SaaS attack surface.
There is a tectonic shift in the SaaS attack surface—the character of user-SaaS relationships has changed, and existing solutions are ill-suited for securing it. Now, Grip is poised with the right product-market-fit to deliver value to customers today and for years to come.
Tell us more about the Grip Security.
Grip’s mission is to empower every customer to safeguard people and SaaS technology—anywhere, everywhere, and on-demand. Founded in 2020, Grip has a vision to be an essential element in modern security architecture to deliver unified SaaS security and secure the SaaS lifecycle.
Grip has outperformed expectations in terms of product innovation, industry recognition, and revenue growth.
In early 2022, Grip began to grow outside Israel and established leadership in sales, marketing, and customer success, while growing our engineering team to continue our innovation.
What are your responsibilities as the CEO and Co-Founder of the company?
I am personally responsible for Grip’s vision and strategy, along with day-to-day executive operations. Currently, I reside in Tel Aviv, and I will be moving to the United States to better serve our global company that is expanding quickly.
I am actively involved in field operations—working directly with our sales and customer success teams to ensure our customers are delighted with Grip at every stage of their journey with us. Grip is dedicated to securing the SaaS security lifecycle, so that gives us a great opportunity to impact our customers’ journeys—wherever they are, they can start with Grip.
What have you failed at and how do you overcome challenges?
I failed to plan for the demand we would experience. In just a few months, our revenue quintupled, and our pre-sales pipeline grew to more than $10 million (only weeks after the product was generally available). We were able to grow significantly just through word-of-mouth among connected security leaders, and although I knew we were on to something and would be successful, I did not plan for that much success so quickly.
What are the key attributes of becoming successful tech leader?
What I have learned so far is that you must have a passion for what your technology does, the problems it solves for customers. You have to see the customer’s problem or challenge as your own personal problem or challenge—because it is. If the customer is successful, you will be too. But you must have passion to solve the challenge, often, more passion than your customers have.
What changes do you wish to bring in society?
When it comes to our impact on society, it goes back to our mission—safeguard. We live on the internet, everyone does. And it deserves to be safe, for everyone. Our mission is to make SaaS safe for anyone, everywhere, and all the time.
In your opinion, what are the primary technologies that have the potential to revolutionise the future of security and information sector?
Artificial intelligence has the capacity to fundamentally change the way we organise society and human behavior. Offloading much of the computational work to a machine with the capacity and apathy to do long-run time calculations while humans work on dynamic things only humans can do could accelerate health and wellness for billions.
At the same time, as with any tool, it can be used for nefarious purposes. It will be important for security vendors and practitioners to work together to mitigate AI risks and threats when criminals use it maliciously.
What advice would you give to the next generation of tech leaders?
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Cultivate your leadership team, set clear expectations for them, and trust them to get the job done. This also means you need to hire leaders who are experts in their discipline—sales, marketing, finance, engineering—to have a team around you that is the best at what they do.
Keep an eye on the culture and the small talk among your people. It will give you the best barometer of how your company’s culture is evolving. Cultural habits can be hard to break, so make sure those habits are the ones you want to use to realise your vision.