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From Hardcore Techie to Successful Entrepreneur: Cybellum CEO Slava Bronfman (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Mar 14th 2022

Slava was a Cyber Security geek in the Israeli military. In this interview, he tells the story of his transition to a successful entrepreneur.

Cybellum has been acquired by LG but continues to operate as an independent business unit subsidiary within the conglomerate. Awesome story with numerous lessons for geeks who aspire to be entrepreneurs.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised and in what kind of background?

Slava Bronfman: I’m from Israel. I grew up in the northern part of Israel. I moved to Tel Aviv for my military service to the cyber security intelligence force. I studied Computer Science. I also did my Masters in Computer Science.

Sramana Mitra: Your background is a hardcore technologist background.

Slava Bronfman: Yes, I was a developer for quite some time. I worked for some companies and also in the army. I specialized in cyber security during military service.

Sramana Mitra: What year did you start Cybellum?

Slava Bronfman: In 2016 when I and Michael, who used to be my commander in the army, were discharged from military service. We decided to automate some of the things that we were doing manually in the army. That’s how Cybellum started.

Sramana Mitra: Is your commander also a technologist?

Slava Bronfman: Yes. We don’t have a real business background.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s double-click down on that transition. We have a lot of entrepreneurs that we encounter in our work who are developers. I’m a computer scientist from MIT. I don’t have a business degree. I started my first company as a grad student.

Let’s try to capture that transition. There is a big leap. Early-stage entrepreneurs have to learn a lot of things. Give us some color into how you bridged that journey from being a hardcore techie to becoming a first-time entrepreneur.

Slava Bronfman: I would say that it wasn’t easy. You don’t know what you don’t know. One good thing that we did early on is, we went to a small accelerator in Israel that was focused on cyber security. The best thing that we got out of this was that we met mentors. One of them is still a part of the advisory board of Cybellum. We learned from people that had done it already.

It was the best thing that we did. We had a complete set of mentors in every aspect of the business, even legal. From every meeting, we were improving everything from our pitch to our understanding of what’s needed to build a company. We couldn’t have done it on our own.

Sramana Mitra: There are two things you said. One is, you used the small accelerator to learn a lot of the terminologies. Secondly, you connected with mentors. These are very viable methods of bridging that gap.

We’ve been doing One Million by One Million since 2010. We have no difficulty teaching developers or technical people what they need to learn about business. The reverse is not necessarily true. You can’t teach salespeople how to be techies. You can’t teach salespeople how to be hardcore techies. Very technical people tend to be high IQ people and are capable of absorbing material at a rigorous fast pace.

We have created this curriculum that anyone from anywhere in the world can access. If anyone is willing to spend 50 to 100 hours on the core curriculum, you can learn all these things that you’ve learned from the accelerator. That puts you at a level-playing field on some basic methodology.

This segment is part 1 in the series : From Hardcore Techie to Successful Entrepreneur: Cybellum CEO Slava Bronfman
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