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Israel’s BYOD startup Nativeflow takes $7.5M to protect corporate data (exclusive)

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Quite a few companies in mobile security focus on protecting corporate data on phones. But at a time when we use an increasing number of devices interchangeably at work and at home, what’s next?

The newcomer to the mobile security space is Nativeflow, an Israeli company formed by veteran technology entrepreneurs Avi Yehuda and Eitan Bauch. Nativeflow’s founders revealed exclusively to VentureBeat that it has raised $7.5 million in funding to date from Jerusalem Venture Partners and OurCrowd.

By phone, Yehuda said he was inspired to start the company while working at Intel. On a work trip back in 2011, he used a corporate-issued Blackberry device to snap a photo to send to family. Yehuda recalls spending several hours trying to find a way to share this photo — the data on this device was locked down by the IT overlords. He eventually needed to borrow a friend’s iPhone.

Yehuda realized then that employees don’t particularly care about apps or the device. It’s the data that matters.

Nativeflow’s technology lets employees access work information (email, documents, and so on) via their company’s cloud in any mobile application. Workers can securely browse this data and share encrypted files. Meanwhile, Nativeflow prevents IT from accessing any personal information, like social networking apps and photos, which may be stored on the device. It doesn’t touch personal data at all.

According to Yehuda, Nativeflow can clearly demarcate between work and personal information. “We know how to classify the data once it’s on the device based on its source,” he said. For instance, a Microsoft Exchange account or website controlled by company should clearly be treated as corporate data. Almost everything else is considered personal.

Just a few years ago, startups like Nativeflow would typically charge companies on a per-device basis. These days, workers are using smart TVs, smartwatches, tablet devices and smartphones interchangeably in their personal and professional lives. Thus, pricing for Nativeflow will vary depending on the size of the customer and how it plans to deploy it.

At this stage, the company declined to disclose any of its customers by name, although Yehuda claims dozens of customers are using the service. The company is primarily building a name for itself in Israel, but it is already plotting an expansion to the U.S. market.

Nativeflow faces myriad competitors (and potential partners) in the trendy mobile device management space. Today, Bluebox Security emerged from stealth mode and last year, MobileSpaces emerged with a simple “mobile workspace,” which sets apart work documents and emails. VMware-owned AirWatch and a slew of others help employers set clear rules for the data that workers can access on their smartphones and tablets.

Yehuda stresses that Nativeflow stands out from the pack as it prohibits IT folk from viewing any personal information. “We let data flow inside the device in the way that people are used to,” he said.

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