Where it's based: Kfar Netter, Israel, and Santa Clara, Calif.
When it was founded: 2000
Why it's Fierce: In a world of smartphones where security is becoming just as critical a component as a powerful processor, Discretix focuses on making sure its security solutions are top-of-the-line by embedding them within the actual device. For mobile, the company's main focus is on security co-processors, which bunch together different security functions such as encryption and authentication. Discretix works on both the software front to protect content (digital rights management and software updates) and the hardware front to embed cryptography and security at the chip level. The company's main mobile product, CryptoCell, works across multiple platforms and operating systems, and supports Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian.
What makes Discretix stand out from the scores of other companies focused on mobile security is its embedded technology approach, which leaves fewer holes in device security than solutions that tack on a software component after devices have shipped. Their solutions work from the silicon up through the platform and applications, which is a smart approach, since security problems typically happen where those layers meet. By providing a solution that encompasses a security co-processor, middleware and applications, Discretix covers all of the bases: from cryptography ciphers at the chip level to algorithms optimized for embedded applications.
On the hardware side of the business, Discretix earns a royalty on each unit shipped, and on the embedded software side the company receives an upfront fee as well as royalties. Discretix said there are more than 2 million devices shipping with its technology per month, including products from HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Sony Ericsson, Intel, ARM Holdings and Texas Instruments. The company is backed by a range of venture capital firms, including Accel, Sequoia Capital, Pitango Venture Capital and Genesis Partners.
What's next: The continued rise of Android as well as content sharing tools mean Discretix is poised to reap the benefits of what it terms a growing understanding of and appreciation for smartphone security. Lately, Discretix has seen more of its business gravitate toward DRM security for video products and services, including set-top boxes and video on demand services for smartphones and tablets.