Welcome to my Tech Leaders Interview Series, where I interview impactful leaders and ask them to share tips and techniques that have benefited them, both in their personal and professional lives.
This interview is with Yoav Levi, Co-Founder & CEO of Upstream Security.
Yoav is Upstream’s CEO and Co-founder, leading the company’s strategic direction, culture, and business execution. Yoav has over 20 years of experience in multinational high-tech companies and start-ups. He brings rich leadership experience in management, marketing, and business development for IT and security products (with category-leading vendors such as Check Point, Juniper Networks, and Broadcom). Yoav is an avid kiteboarder and surfer.
What are your main productivity tips?
Keep meetings 15 to 30 minutes and allow 3 hours of your day to be meeting-free (Yes, I know it is hard to accomplish but not impossible).
Prioritize: focus on your 1-2 top priority issues and involve your team in the other tasks. For example, I rely on my management team to address many urgent issues and trust their judgment.
What is your favorite drink?
Campari with orange juice is one of my off-hours favorites.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
The beach is the perfect place to unwind, and I am lucky to have easy access to it. I combine it with my favorite water sport – surfing. I start my morning at 6 am with a surf, when conditions allow. When there are no waves, I ride my dirt bike (I have a KTM 250). Both of these activities require absolute focus, which means I cannot think about work, and I can clear my head, relax, and restart.
Your tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
I believe that as a CEO, your primary charter, at least in the early stages, is to raise capital and hire the best executive team; Even though most entrepreneurs have a tendency to focus on other activities such as product development and sales (which are just as important), make sure to give fundraising and your management team just as much attention, as they will be as crucial to the success of the start-up as the others.
Who in the Tech industry would you like to meet for lunch?
I would love to meet Elon Musk, who has an intriguing personality. He’s brilliant, but probably the “craziest” entrepreneur out there.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Most likely Costa Rica, which is a surfer’s heaven.
What is your favorite book recommendation?
The Lean Startup is one of the best books for entrepreneurs.
Why are you in Tech?
I have a passion for technology, and I believe that it allows me to make the greatest impact compared with any other industry. Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner of venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz said that “Software is eating the world.” I see it as feeding the world – Tech allows us to solve real and meaningful problems using software.
Upstream Security offers a cloud-based cybersecurity and data analytics platform purpose-built for connected vehicles and smart mobility services. The Upstream Platform fuses machine learning, data normalization, and digital twin profiling technologies to detect anomalies in real-time using existing automotive data feeds. Coupled with AutoThreat® Intelligence, the first automotive cybersecurity threat intelligence feed, Upstream provides unparalleled cybersecurity and data-driven insights, readily available and seamlessly integrated into the customer’s environment and broader vehicle security operations center (VSOC). Upstream is privately funded by Alliance Ventures (Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi), Volvo Group Venture Capital, Hyundai, Nationwide Insurance, Salesforce Ventures, MSI, CRV, Glilot Capital Partners, and Maniv Mobility.