Women in Digital: Liron Barak

We speak with Liron Barak, CEO and co-founder of BitDam on her enthusiasm for learning, the challenge of securing funding for the company, and launching a new product during for customers during the pandemic

Posted 18 January 2021 by Christine Horton

Did you enjoy school?

I loved school. I loved it so much that I began studying for a bachelor’s degree at the age 14. I have always been a people person, so I enjoyed the interaction with my classmates and joining a special programme for teenagers at university was great as I loved both the studies and the other kids. My best friends are the people that I studied with during these times.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a BSc in Computer Science and master’s degree in Computer Science with a specialisation in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. I spent seven years at the cyber unit of the Israeli Defence Forces where I was responsible for the development of cyber technologies used by the entire intelligence community.

Has your career path been a smooth transition, a rocky road or combination of both? 

I would say it’s been a combination of both. As in any journey, there are ups and downs. Opening and owning a business has been fun. You get to see the fruits of your labor quickly, but failures are part of the process. I think that my optimism (that some would say is unrealistic) is my secret. Even when times are difficult, I always believe that there is something good waiting around the corner and I do my best to get there.

What’s the best career advice you can give to others?

Believe in yourself and listen to your instincts. Sometimes the people that don’t think like everyone else are actually right.  

If you had to pick one mentor who has had the biggest influence on you, who would it be?

I can’t pick one mentor as my opinions, mindset and aspirations were influenced by my entire environment. What I can definitely say is that the women in my life are role models for me – my mother, my sister, my mother in law and my sisters in law. They inspire me by always being passionate about making their dreams come true.

From where do you draw inspiration?

I read a lot. I usually I don’t have the time to get very deep into new areas of interest but every piece that I read makes me think. At the end of the day, this on-going daily activity inspires me and is responsible for many of the fresh and new ideas that I have.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced to date?

Raising the initial funding for BitDam. It was my partner and me back then. We had a market need, an idea that everyone thought was impossible to execute and our brains. That’s it. It took a lot to convince our first investor that we could deliver on what we promised and execute on this crazy idea. I assume that there were many other challenges along the way, but this first big barrier is something that I will always remember. 

What qualities do you feel makes a good leader?

I think that enthusiasm is crucial. If you want to get people to follow you, you have to be highly motivated yourself and really believe in what you do.

From a work viewpoint what has 2020 been like for you so far?

More than anything, 2020 has been dynamic, so dynamic! We started the year with a certain plan but as COVID-19 hit and the market dynamics changed, we tweaked our plan and initiated some additional activities much earlier than planned. 

We’ve made changes extremely quickly with many uncertainties. For instance, back in March, the use of Zoom and Microsoft Teams by businesses rose steeply and since we’re protecting such platforms from cyberthreats, we decided to quickly launch the BitDam Advanced Threat Protection for Teams and Zoom. Within a couple of weeks, we had a product with general availability and after a few more days we had clients using it to protect their businesses. That was just the beginning, from that point there was so much more that happened, and the pace was always extremely high.

Give us a fact about you that most other people wouldn’t know.

I love watching trashy TV shows.