Nov. 15, 2022

Welcoming Frank Kim as the New CISO-in-Residence at YL Ventures

By John Brennan

We're excited to officially welcome Frank Kim to YL Ventures as our new CISO-in-Residence! Read more about the evolution of this program and why we're so excited to have Frank working with us, here:

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When we started our CISO-in-Residence program at YL Ventures, we knew that it would be another arrow in our quiver of value-add services, giving early-stage cybersecurity founders critical insights from a dedicated security expert. To date, we’ve had the true pleasure of working with some amazing friends from the cybersecurity industry in this role, including: Roger Hale (CSO, Agora), Sounil Yu (CISO and Head of Research, JupiterOne) and Ryan Gurney (Former CISO, Looker; acquired by Google).  This position is now a foundational element of our team, and we’ve learned a lot over the years about how the CISO-in-Residence role can most benefit our founders. When considering the characteristics that embody the role, it’s been clear to us for quite some time that Frank Kim, who we are announcing today as our new CISO-in-Residence, fits the bill perfectly.

With 15 years in the industry, Frank is the epitome of a well-rounded cyber professional, with experience as a CISO, founder, longtime educator, and a well respected guide, advisor and angel investor for numerous startups. His latest role as Fellow and Curriculum Director at the SANS Institute allows him to educate and mold the next generation of cybersecurity professionals from the wide vantage point of a practitioner and an educator. His approach to startup founders is as diverse as his bio. He is comfortable working within legacy environments, cloud-native vendors and different stages of digital transformation. Our founders know that he brings many hats to the table, each with its own unique value.

I originally met Frank a couple of years ago through Sounil Yu, our CISOs-in-Residence at the time.  Sounil understands how YL Ventures operates as well as anyone, and he was kind enough to connect me with Frank as a prime candidate for such a role. As I’ve gotten to know Frank as a YLV advisor, it’s clear that Sounil’s nose for the needs of Israeli entrepreneurs was spot on. I still remember one of the first meetings that we set up between Frank and one of our founders, Lior Yaari (Cofounder and CEO of Grip Security, one of the highest velocity early stage companies in the industry). Lior was blown away by Frank’s insights, unique approach and intuitive understanding of the broad customer base that Grip is targeting. Frank wasn’t even a potential customer, making such an  enthusiastic response to a discussion even more impressive.  It turns out that this was but the first signal that Frank would excel working with YLV portfolio companies.

As a YLV Advisor, I’ve seen Frank get in the trenches time and time again with founders (whether pre or post investment), no matter how raw or unformed the vision. He is comfortable brainstorming on half-formed concepts (or multiple ideas concurrently!), and when teams have a strong enough hypothesis, he is able to drive the testing of a thesis forward at high speed. He wins over founders by being direct, building strong relationships based on trust and a genuine passion for security, and by bringing a unique perspective, from both his own experience as a practitioner and from the broad view of the industry he has through his role at SANS.

For those who know him well, it probably goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway: Frank is a wonderful person, who has already made an impact on our team through his combination of expertise and warmth. We love having Frank around, and we’re thrilled to have him take on this great role within our firm. Frank was a natural choice as our new CISO-in-Residence, and I can’t wait to see how he leverages his natural curiosity and a deep-seated interest in the startup experience to continue helping YL Ventures founders lay the foundation for the next wave of cybersecurity innovation.