Startup Of The Week

Startup Of The Week: NanoLock Security

NanoLock Security has developed a platform for IoT and connected devices that automates protection by embedding the service into memory components. The company has struck partnerships with a wide range of memory companies to include its service in products that are then destined for markets ranging from smart homes to automobiles to factories.

The goal is to enhance security on devices that otherwise have little computing power by offering a simple activation process, making it easier to manage for companies that could be dealing with large numbers of such connected devices.

“We started with the vision of how to protect and manage connected devices,” says Eran Fine, CEO and co-founder of NanoLock. “As things become more and more connected, they’re vulnerability needs to be managed.”

Eran Fine¸ CEO and co-founder of NanoLock

Founded in 2016, the Israeli startup boasts a host of security experts amongs its founders and early team members. As the group examined the growing problem of security for connected devices, they began to study where and how it would be most strategic to implement better security.

They concluded that placing it at the memory level would allow for an ideal combination of protection and ease-of-use. So if, for instance, someone gains access to a connected security camera, the NanoLock system can block it and prevent the intruder from inserting any malicious code or changing settings. By the same measure, it can also gather data on the attacker to analyze the hack.

The NanoLock system uses little power, and little computer processing, so it can still operate on connected devices that don’t have much of either.

NanoLock’s business works by partnering with memory companies such as Micron. Together, the two companies are creating a system for IoT devices that allows a developer designing a gadget to buy Micron’s memory component with NanoLock’s security already built in.

When the IoT device is then sold to a customer, connected to a network, and turned on, the user gets the option of subscribing to NanoLock’s protection. By subscribing, the security is switched on with no further set up needed, and NanoLock shares the fee with the memory partner. The latter is an attractive option for component sellers who are happy to have some additional recurring revenue and relationships with customers beyond one-time sales, Fine says.

NanoLock also recently announced a deal with Cypress Semiconductor to put iys security system in memory components destined for automobiles and factories.

“We are not a hardware company,” Fine says. “It’s hardware security as a service. Micron and other partners have the hardware. Our service goes inside that. And we tell them we’ll give you a piece of our revenue for the next few years if we are inside their memory device. That’s why we’ve been growing so fast.”

So far, NanoLock has raised $9 million in venture capital and has 21 employees. Fine wowed the judges at the recent 4YFN event in Barcelona where the company participated in the startup contest. Fine hacked a security camera live on stage to demonstrate just how vulnerable such gadgets are. NanoLock was ultimately selected as 4YFN’s Startup of the Year.

Fine says the next big challenges for the company include continuing to expand the range of partnerships, as well as placing more focus on the U.S. market.

“The opportunity for embedded security and management is huge,” he says. “We need to build the ecosystem around it, both partners and customters. We have the groundbreaking technology to become a sizable company. But it’s always a battle.”

About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.