June 25, 2023 | 5 minutes read

Founder Spotlight – Itay Levy


Founder Spotlight
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Entrée Capital Team

Entrée Capital’s “Founder Spotlight” series is a collection of video and written blogs that aim to highlight some of the inspiring founders in our portfolio and to share some of the lessons that they’ve learned along the way. 

In this Founder Spotlight, we spoke to Itay Levy, the Co-Founder and CEO of Identiq.

In a sentence, what do you offer, to whom?

We are a private network for identity validation that allows some of the world’s largest companies to safely collaborate with each other in order to validate trusted customers – without sharing any sensitive data or identifiable information.

What was your first product like, and how is it similar or different to your current product? 

That’s a really interesting question, because our vision has stayed very consistent. As soon as we realized that new technology had made it possible to use established mathematical and cryptographical principles for real life applications, we had a lightbulb moment. We realized that it was the answer to identity validation and the underlying question of digital trust.

However, the product itself has evolved by leaps and bounds. It’s incredible to see the previously untapped potential of Privacy Enhancing Computation and we continuously enhance our peer-to-peer technology to provide more value while remaining completely private. Based on the feedback we receive, we’ve made it easier for members to get value from the network, and it’s just amazing to see.

What has surprised you most while building your business?

We initially believed it would be a challenge to convince the more established, enterprise companies to join the network. In reality, when we explained the product and the idea behind it, not only did they run fast, they actually became our biggest champions.

The enormous positive response we’ve experienced is far greater than we’d anticipated. We thought we would need to educate the market, explain the core concepts slowly over time, and it hasn’t happened that way. We knew that the digital identity challenge, with trust at its core, was something that companies were struggling with, and that they would be interested in a solution for that.

We were amazed by the extent that the privacy aspect, with true anonymity, garnered attention and interest. Executives are now very aware of the privacy challenges facing their business, and so companies get excited when they see a product which offers a genuinely new and hugely impactful solution.

What were the main stumbling blocks during the first 24 months of building your business and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge was always going to be the fact that we’re a network. It’s a chicken and egg problem; to kickstart a network, you need members. But members want to see the network before they join.

Thankfully, we were able to solve this challenge. We’ve been extremely lucky to find real visionaries at a number of enterprise companies who were so excited about the potential of our network – this new kind of collaboration where companies can pool trust in good users without sharing any personal user data – that they were happy to all jump into the pool together, so to speak.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Do what is right, not what is easy

There are no shortcuts – to build a great company, you need to do it properly from day one.

Could you recommend 1-3 books that assisted you through your entrepreneurial endeavors?

Phil Jackson wrote a book called “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success” and it had a real impact on me. He explains that the way to build a team is to have a clear goal, with everyone working to achieve it.

That’s what I aimed for when I started Identiq — to build the right team for the right goal. And that means the goal needs to be a really strong one, a powerful one that people will be motivated to achieve. On the other hand, you need the right people, each with their own expertise and strengths to collaborate and work together towards that goal.

That last point was really brought home to me when I read The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni, where he explains that a healthy organization has management, operations, strategy and culture which fit together and make sense. That’s really important to us as a company. We take tremendous care to hire the right people who believe in our mission and our product, and then we encourage them to be an active part of shaping our company and our culture.

Why Entrée?

I’ve known Ran for many years, and always looked for an opportunity to work together, as he’s one of the smartest people I know. Avi and Ran together are a true powerhouse, and after speaking to other portfolio companies I saw how unique they are – they’re winners who think big and build large companies. Unlike other local VCs, which often care too much about downside protection, they think big!


To learn more about Identiq visit: https://www.identiq.com/