27 May 2022
Leadership & Management
Take V is a Vertex Holdings spotlight series that dives into the inspiring stories of Vertex’s portfolio founders. In this installment, we chat with Ben Kliger, Co-founder and CEO of Zenity. Zenity is a portfolio company of Vertex Ventures Israel.
Can you share your background with us and what inspired you to start up?
I have held positions in Microsoft cloud cybersecurity organisations, where I worked with Fortune 1000 companies. I have also had in-depth experience in the elite Israeli intelligence unit, Unit 8200, as well as cybersecurity-focused companies. However, I always knew I would become an entrepreneur and build my own company. I come from a family of entrepreneurs; you could say that it runs in my blood.
When I worked at Microsoft, I saw, time and again, the struggles and frustrations of large enterprises in dealing with emerging technologies and the lack of proper security governance tools. I believe that low-code/no-code platforms represent all that is beautiful in technology, enabling everyone to become developers and create what they need, when they need it and on their own. By enabling people from different skills and backgrounds to be relevant in today's hyper digital world, these platforms allow all to become modern professionals.
I have found the best and smartest co-founder I could have asked for – Michael Bargury – and together, we were inspired to create a solution that would empower IT and security teams to enable the use of low-code/no-code platforms without compromising on security practices.
What was the most challenging task you experienced or decision made when starting up? And how do you advance when there’s no one single right answer?
We’ve seen the value of listening to the people in our community when it comes to making decisions for which you don’t have a ready answer. That includes the people you bring and build the company and culture with, the people you choose to partner with and get funded or advised by, and the people on the customer side that you can work closely with, provide value to, and collect feedback from.
If you listen closely and objectively to all those valuable sources of information, then combine it with your north star and your guts, they will guide you in the right direction. Sometimes, there is no right answer, and I know that there are still things I don’t know. Michael and I are each other’s safety and support nets; at the same time, we also surround ourselves with the best minds we can find. As a huge team sports follower and supporter, I believe that working as one unit and not as individuals is the first key for success.
What do you think is the secret sauce in building an enduring company?
First, there is no “fake it ‘till you make it”. You need to be customer-obsessed and fully aligned with their pains and needs, especially when dealing with a new problem space and innovative technologies, if you want them to trust you and your product.
Also, I believe that diversity is key when it comes to building a successful and enduring company. We are very proud of our diverse team. Diversity is one of the core values at Zenity, and as such is a topic that we track very closely. We believe that a diverse environment creates a better organisational culture with more different opinions and better creativity, which in turn also benefits the company by producing unique, out-of-the-box solutions and creating great value.
We are looking for people that are looking to make an impact on the way that low-code/no-code technologies are adopted in a secure, governed manner, and how Zenity will evolve. We have regular ‘hands on’ meetings where each and every person gets to share what they are working on, what they’ve accomplished, ask questions and offer ideas. Working as one unit makes our product better and helps make Zenity a long-living organisation.
What is the one thing you do in business that most may not agree with you on?
We are developing a new category in the security space, offering security governance to technologies that are still going through changes and are evolving. Sometimes people don’t understand how deep low-code/no-code is, or how huge of an impact they are making on business in their organisations and representing a new wave of shadow IT.
From our first day, we knew who our potential customers were, and we realised that – for now – we need to aim to work as close as we can with very large companies. Aiming to work with such accounts is the real deal – it requires us to think big and be enterprise-ready in our mindsets as well from day 1 of the company. Michael and I knew from the get-go that we wanted to build a sustainable organisation that would have a solution for a big, new problem space, which means that we are not building a feature company.
How will no-code/low-code platform adoption change traditional job roles and organizational workflows?
Gartner predicts that by 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.
Low-code/no-code tools are beautiful technologies that bring people closer to tech – even if they don't have such a background – and enable them to be more productive and efficient. It enables application development democratisation and allows everyone to be developers. They can be more independent and build their own tools without waiting for IT approval or review. When you think of it from a business perspective, there is every reason to encourage employees to use low-code/no-code. It saves time, money, empowers employees and enables them to be more valuable to the organisation.
Think about Gen Z, who was born with technology in their hands. They are used to the fast adoption of technologies, fast workflows, and fast changes. In today’s ever-changing tech environments, there is no more room for long and agonising processes; this is exactly where low-code/no-code (LCNC) technology comes in. From developers who want to build applications faster and more efficiently to a business user that needs to develop a new customer-facing service or automate a critical yet cumbersome business process, everyone can find their answers in low-code/no-code.
This decentralisation brings with it new security governance challenges for IT and security professionals, as well as the understanding that in order for them to be aligned with the business goals and growth targets, they need to be enablers of low-code/no-code technologies – which is exactly the bridge that Zenity comes to provide.
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News & Announcements
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