Shlomo Kramer seems underappreciated. Starting his career in the Israeli Army's elite 8200 information security corps, he's helped found a string of publicly traded information security companies with a total market capitalization of $31.4 billion.
And this does not include the value of the companies he has started and sold to other companies.
Add those up and you get a net worth I estimate at around $1.2 billion.
In October 2015, he announced that he had received a hefty Series A investment in a network security startup, Cato Networks, of which he is CEO.
Before getting into his latest move, let's look at a history of startup success that clearly beats the odds.
He hauled in $740 million from the proceeds of two companies.
Globes estimated that his August 2013 sale of Trusteer, an information security service provider, to IBM for "close to $1 billion" -- yielded Kramer $240 million.
Moreover, it estimates that Kramer realized $500 million from selling his stake in Check Point Software ($15.4 billion market capitalization).
In March 2015, Kramer owned a 13.7% stake in Imperva ($2.2 billion market capitalization) and in August 2013 owned 1.5% of Palo Alto Networks ($13.8 billion market capitalization) -- which would now be valued at $301 million and $207 million, respectively.
I don't know how much money Kramer made selling his stakes in other startups.
In April 2015, BlackBerry acquired Watchdox, a file sharing security startup in which he invested for $100 million -- but I don't know what Kramer's stake was in the company.
Earlier in 2015, he sold mobile security provider, Lacoon -- for "tens of millions of dollars," according to Reuters -- and HyperWise -- an intrusion detection startup -- for "tens of millions of dollars," according to Reuters both to Check Point.
On October 27, Kramer announced a $20 million financing from U.S. Venture Partners and Aspect Ventures for Cato Networks, his cloud network security startup.
Kramer is CEO and co-founder, with Gur Shatz, who had bootstrapped the company until now. Shatz brings "an extensive background in Cloud-based web applications security and acceleration. Previously, he was the co-founder and CEO of Incapsula [which Imperva acquired in 2014]," according to my October 26 interview with Kramer.
Cato's product is targeting a big market. Gartner forecast that global spending on public cloud services would grow from $155 billion in 2014 to $210 billion in 2016
And Cato will launch "in the first half 2016, and the company is currently accepting beta customers," Kramer told me.
Underlying Cato's opportunity is a mismatch between current network security technology and the threats businesses face when they move to the cloud.
"The velocity of security threats surpassed the speed at which enterprises can adapt their existing controls, exposing a mismatch between hackers and the businesses they target. By leveraging Cloud, software and new approaches to enterprise network architecture, Cato will enable a secure, high performance and agile enterprise network," he said.
Kramer's success can be boiled down to four simple ideas.
1. Go Where the Puck Is Heading
It's a common expression, but nonetheless true, that if you want to win, you need to get to where opportunity will be ahead of the competition.
Kramer has a knack for seeing where the information security industry is heading before his rivals. You can see that by looking at all the companies he has started that were first in their information security category.
He has been quick to spot new trends -- such as people bringing their own device to work -- and how to profit by selling an effective information security tool.
That's what happened with his company, Watchdox, whose technology blocked unauthorized people from reading confidential documents -- such as movie scripts -- that were inappropriately forwarded from a producer's iPad to a journalist's.
2. Build The World's Best Team
If you want to win, you can't do it all yourself.
Kramer is good at figuring out the skills that his companies need to succeed and where and how to hire the best people with those skills.
Like his other companies, Cato operates both in Israel and the San Francisco Bay Area. As he explained, "The best people in the world for information security are in Israel. And the Bay Area has the best sales and marketing people."
3. Have A Buyer In Mind
Here's an idea that is easy to describe and difficult to do -- if you are starting a company, you might not be able to get your money out by going public.
That's because some startups can grow fast and generate significant revenues -- but if they can't get big enough -- now the threshold seems to be sales of at least $100 million -- you can't go public.
But that does not mean you can't sell the business. And in those cases, it helps if you have publicly traded buyers in mind when you start the company.
Kramer has already taken public a handful of companies who have access to enough capital to acquire startups that he believes will not make it to the public markets.
Students come to me frequently with ideas that sound good. But the idea is the easy part. Turning that idea into a product that works so well that people will feel a need to buy it is the hard part.
What Kramer has accomplished sounds pretty simple until you remember what Thomas Edison once said, "Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration."
Were it not for the perspiration part, far more of us might be able to follow in Kramer's footsteps.