By Sunny Sun
Throughout my many years of working within the industry media, I have had opportunities to interact with scores of people, many of whom are industry innovators, pioneers and entrepreneurs. I find that although their skills and expertise vary greatly, one thing holds true for each of them: a persistent passion for innovation and a strong sense of responsibility. These two qualities helped them both navigate the entrepreneurship route with all its unpredictable twists and turns, and remain resilient enough to weather the inevitable unexpected storm.
I met David Maman at an industry event. I was instantly fascinated by his ability to create so many startups at his young age, and even more intrigued by his personal experiences in cyberspace, He has to date successfully built 9 startups, all subsequently sold to enterprises large and small. His first was sold when he was 19 for $50,000 and his latest was sold to Huawei, a leading global provider of information and communications technology (“ICT”) infrastructure and smart devices from China, for a record $42 million.
Like many of you feel the same, I am curious, how does he do it, and what has propelled him to successfully journey this far?
It All Started From Playing A Good “Game”
Like many typical 13-year-olds, David loved to play video games. Unlike many typical 13-year-olds, however, he created his own. Back in 1991, David said, C++ wasn’t a steady language so, at 15, he problem-solved using “reverse engineering”–a concept he wasn’t even aware of yet. He graduated high school at the age of 16 and went on to major in computer science. He built his first company in 1996, and that initial success set him on the cyberspace journey, creating more startups by providing sound solutions for cybersecurity issues. Now, at 19, while many his age are still figuring out a career route, David has already found his calling: to figured out ways to guard the increasingly-insecure cyber universe in which we must live today.
Why Did David Continue to Build Startups?
The deep internet space that continues to be more complex and incomprehensible, David said, is usually structured in layers, such as layers of applications, networks, operating systems, databases, or in the cloud space, for example. While the cyber universe gets more layers of connectivity, these multiple layers have thus become increasingly complicated. Therefore, David believes, cybersecurity is multi-dimensional possessing solutions situated within each different layer.
David possesses a strong passion to solve problems, Through his logical thought process, he embraces the challenge of obstacles by sorting and dissecting their various parts to identify the weakness. And he never hesitates to openly share his knowledge or extend a hand to those in need of help in dealing with layers solutions.
He told me he always has ideas, lots of ideas! This has motivated him to keep doing what he loves to do, and certainly what he does best: working with individuals and companies to translate his unique ideas into executable solutions.
Each of the startups he founded solves problems situated in each of the different layers, implementing innovative methods. In all of the 9 companies he built in the cybersecurity field, he has tested and applied many different approaches. Among them, three of the companies address problems from an offensive approach, whereas the remaining six solutions were developed from a defensive approach.
As David puts it, Cybersecurity is a multi-dimensional detection with layered solutions. An offensive approach is a type of strategy that consists of actively trying to pursue changes through a proactive mode. A defensive approach is a type of strategy designed to counteract attacks or threats. In general, cybersolutions are usually taken via the defensive approach, since it is typical to respond after an episode has occurred.
There is never a dull moment for cybersecurity, as vulnerability seems to be everywhere. David’s approach is to really see things from the inside out or a whole picture in order to come up with viable solutions.
Cybersecurity is a Myth, Cyber Solution Is An Illusion
Cybersecurity is myth, as David points out, because there is little true understanding of what lies in that space. The problems are never consistent and no one will know for sure how many problems are out there, because they cannot be measured. As David puts it, “Such as buying a house, for example. If I ask you to buy a house, but I can’t even tell you how many rooms or windows there are or whether there are plumbing issues, would you buy that house? Therefore, the reality of cybersecurity is that you don’t know what you are getting into; it is unmeasurable and unpredictable. We live in state of illusion,” David continues, “so I stopped selling companies solutions. I don’t want to sell these types of products anymore, despite the fact that I truly enjoyed writing the codes and solving the problems.”
David believes that all the solutions out there in the market can be illusions. One can say, for example, that what is being offered is the best of the best. However, there can never be 100% certainty which are the ultimate cyber solutions. There can only be created an illusion of protection simply because one can’t measure the degree of the problem nor, therefore, the protection. “From this viewpoint,” David continues, “I realized it is a myth, and I stopped creating cyber security companies.”
As a side note, I can’t help but wonder whether he will come around again to shake things up by implementing a brand new approach to solve the problems we face in the new and ever-changing cyber world.
Now it is Time for Binah.Al to Decipher Using Signal Processing
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is statistical modeling that can be implemented in each layer of everything,” says David. He believes in the usefulness of the Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning and, as such, he has developed yet another company called Binah.Al.
Why “Binah.AI”? In Hebrew, Binah is a process from one “intellectual” dimension to another “wisdom” dimension. It is the ability to use the process to think and act in such a way that common sense prevails and choices are beneficial and productive. I trust that this is the guiding principle David aims for in his newly-established venture.
The technique behind Binah.Al is to utilize signal processing. Signal processing is a subfield of mathematics, information and electrical engineering that concerns the analysis, synthesis, and modification of signals, which are broadly defined as functions conveying “information about the behavior or attributes of some phenomenon. David shared with me how signal processing can be effectively utilized via machine learning tools to help predict and detect.
Binah.AI is currently working with JP Morgan in the financial sector to predict currency exchange rates with a perfect accuracy and 2.5 minutes ahead of real time in the stock market, in some cases. In the automobile industry, Binah.AI is working with Japanoise company, Denso.com, a 60-billion leading automobile supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components for all of the world’s major automakers, using video feeds to retrieve driver or passenger heart rates by monitoring the blood flow on the facial surface, measured at the same level of the oximeter, sometimes even more accurate than an Apple Watch, as David indicated. It is mainly applied in the autonomous self-driving vehicle for the safety of the future drivers.
This company started two years and three months ago and has begun selling four months ago. The sales target is 2.5 billion in the coming year and over 11 billion the year after. It is an ambitious but reachable goal, according to David. Once again, his self-confidence and ambition has impressed me. I believe his certainty comes from the applications he has delivered which can reach the highest level of accuracy, stability, and predictability.
I must say what a pleasure it was to speak with David Maman. I have never met a person with such accomplishments yet still humble and approachable. In my opinion, David has three of the most important qualities to carry him far: intellect, wisdom, and the big heart. I hope my conversation with him will inspire many other young entrepreneurs to pursuing their own paths for success and to retain their sincerity. I also wish David continued success on his creative journey, and value his contribution to build a better world for our future.