Michael Waxman-Lenz

Technion Trailblazers: Nadir Izrael on Shaping the Future with Friends

While education is essential for guiding the next generation in making an impact on the world around them, we cannot underestimate the vital role that our friends and support network also play in shaping our (and the world’s) future.  

In my conversation with Nadir Izrael, physics and computer science alumnus of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, we take a deep dive into how his Technion education not only prepared him to build a company from the ground up, but also gave him the opportunity to forge a friendship that blossomed into a lifelong business partnership. 

Michael: In speaking with alumni, I am always fascinated with the twists and turns that their careers take after their time at the Technion. Before we jump into your journey post-grad, tell me why you chose a Technion education. 

Nadir: The Technion has always been a part of my life in some capacity and means so much to me today – even years after my time on campus. I grew up in a small town near Haifa so, as you know, the best technical university in Israel was essentially in my backyard. I knew that the university pushed its students academically, and if I wanted to attend, I needed passion for what I was pursuing.  

Michael: That passion for learning is definitely a common bond that all Technion alumni share. What topic areas were you excited to explore academically? 

Nadir: Something about physics always captured my attention. However, physics is very theoretical, and I wanted to ensure that I also learned hard skills to prepare me for a career in the private sector.  

I spent a few years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) before starting at the Technion. I worked on software development in Unit 8200, which is essentially Israel’s version of the National Security Agency in the United States. With my IDF experience in mind, I applied for and was accepted to the Technion LAPIDIM Excellence Program, an initiative that helps prepare computer science students for an entrepreneurial future in the tech world.  

Michael: Were you able to study physics and computer science at the same time? 

Nadir: I was, and I soon discovered that the Technion’s reputation as a rigorous academic powerhouse is well-deserved! My four years there were challenging. That said, it was incredibly rewarding, and I made great memories and several close lifelong friends. There were 15 minutes at the end of my undergraduate degree when I thought about diving into a physics PhD, but I decided against it. Maybe one day! 

Michael: Spending years studying physics and computer science simultaneously sounds like an impossible feat to me, and it never fails to surprise me just how many Technion students seek out challenges proactively. What was next for you after the Technion if not a PhD? 

Nadir: During my first year as a student, I started a position at Google as a software engineer, and I continued that role after graduation. Given my time in the LAPIDIM program, I knew I wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial venture in the future. I tried to get an idea off the ground in the small business loan fintech space. At the time, I was also thinking about how my good friend, Yevgeny Dibrov, and I had talked about starting a company together in university. We first met in the IDF and reconnected a few years later at school. Now, I’m proud to say he’s still my good friend and co-founder at our company, Armis. 

Back in 2015 while I was trying to make my mark in the fintech industry, Yevgeny made a successful exit at a different start-up. The time was right for both of us, so I pivoted my work to partner with him. 

Michael: It’s so nice to hear about Technion friends who reconnect down the line. Even better that you two are now business partners! What did you have in mind for your new challenge? 

Nadir: Like many entrepreneurs, we wanted to solve a meaningful problem – and a big technological challenge. We settled on Armis, which secures the “Internet of Things” (IoT) for hospitals, factories, government agencies, and more. I like to describe our service as the Google Maps for your network. Companies can use Armis to see all their different devices, their security contexts, and their security requirements to fend off attacks or breaches. Think about how difficult it is to navigate life without Google Maps. That’s how companies felt before Armis. 

Michael: It’s been almost ten years since you and Yevgeny started Armis. I have no doubt that it’s been hard work growing it to its current capacity. What are your goals for the company in the next few years? 

Nadir: My goal is to take the company public, hopefully sometime in the next two years. We’re a world-renowned security platform, and I’m very proud of the work we do for our clients. It’s also very humbling to know that Armis has evolved from an idea between Yevgeny and I to a team of 700 employees who rely on the company every day to support their families. That might be the most rewarding feeling of this entire journey.  

Having grown up in a poorer town and reflecting on what I’ve built now, I can confidently say that my time in the army and my education at the Technion both played incredibly important roles in giving me the opportunity to transform my future. It’s hard to imagine what I would be doing if not trying to make an impact in tech. For that reason, Yevgeny and I stay connected with the Technion community as much as possible, contributing to programs that are geared toward underprivileged communities to join the tech world. We both want to see a more diverse future for tech and want to make the opportunities we were given as accessible as possible for others. 

Michael: Knowing that so many humble and talented people like you are hungry to solve the world’s greatest challenges is certainly comforting. Aside from Armis, do you have a vision for your own future? 

Nadir: I haven’t thought too much about life after Armis. I don’t see myself ever truly settling down. I always like to be building something. If I had the opportunity, I would love to do the entire process again and help tackle the newest, most challenging problems in need of solutions. I might even return to physics, especially now that there is renewed global interest with the explosion of quantum research these days. Whatever comes my way in the future, I’ll always think about my time at the Technion and how one place allows so many people to shape their own destinies, regardless of background. 

About the Author
Michael Waxman-Lenz is the CEO of the American Technion Society. He joined ATS from the private sector as the CFO before entering the executive role in 2019.
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