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#startupmom: Shira Kaplan

October 05, 2015 2 Comments

#startupmom Shira Kaplan

Take us through your journey as a founder and CEO

My company, Cyverse, is a boutique advisory which focuses on taking the most promising cyber-security startups to the European market.

We launched in the end of 2014. After studying at Harvard and serving in the Elite Technology Unit of the Army in Israel, I was finishing my MBA at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, and writing my MBA thesis on “Swiss Venture Capital Investments in Israeli Cyber-Security Startups.” A brilliant Israeli cyber-security expert, Ronen Lago, approached me, and we started toying with the idea of fundraising for Israeli cyber startups in Switzerland. Through my good friend Maria Kisheshyan from the St. Gallen MBA Women in Business Club I got serial telecom & Internet entrepreneur Anat Bar-Gera to join me as Cyverse’s Chairwoman and co-founder, and the rest was history.

What inspires your work?

The incredibly fast pace with which the cyber-security world is moving… It isn’t so easy to run in Europe as fast as those cyber-security entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv and the Silicon Valley do… But we try hard!

Tell us about the little one who made you a mama

Gosh, my daughter, Yarden, is the cutest little thing I could have possibly dreamed of as a child! Big curly hair, gorgeous brown eyes, and the kind of look that makes you wonder if she is really only one and a half years old… 

What kind of mom are you? 

Very hands on. It starts with checking the weather every morning to figure out how exactly I should dress Yarden (Zurich intra-day weather changes like crazy!), continues with paying attention to which CD she listens to (Israeli music, Mary Poppins or Vivaldi?), and ends with trying to decipher which language she’s speaking to me in (Hebrew, English or Swiss-Deutsch…).

Shira Kaplan and daughter Yarden

What does a typical day look like in your world?

6:30 AM wake up, check the weather, first round of morning emails to our key European partners, 7:30 AM Yarden wakes up, dress her up, make sure she gets breakfast, and that my husband, Itay, brings her to kindergarten. 8:30 AM Hop on a train to our Kuesnacht office on Lake Zurich for strategy, finance or operation meetings. 12:00 PM lunch with business partners downtown Zurich. 2:00 PM phone calls with our Israeli clients. 4:30 PM pick up Yardeni from childcare and do something fun in the afternoon (go to the lake if it’s really hot or play indoors if it's cold…).  6:30 PM shower Yardeni, dinner and a session of classical music or puzzles. 7:30 PM Yardeni is in bed and it’s time for phone calls with the US or follow-up emails. 10:30 PM Homeland/House of Cards episode with Itay...if we’re lucky and don’t fall asleep beforehand.

What do you love most about being a #startupmom?

I love the flexibility – being in control of my time works wonders for me. I also love the fact that motherhood made me think pretty hard about what truly matters in life.

What’s hard about being a #startupmom?

Slowing down has been the hardest thing. But you simply have to slow down when you’re with a child. And planning! Oh, planning takes so much time… Phone calls with Itay, babysitters, childcare, grandmothers… Planning the day, the week, the quarter, our winter break… Never-ending planning…!

Besides the babe and the biz, what's something you really care about? 

“Women in Business” and women entrepreneurs, in Switzerland, Israel and elsewhere.

What was a time you felt like you were doing motherhood really well?

Yarden is totally in her "Terrible Two" phase at the moment… so honestly, nothing at this point! She won't listen to anything I ask her to do, no matter how hard I beg…

What’s new and what’s next for Cyverse?

We’re at a very exciting phase for Cyverse. We’ve already brought a few incredibly strong cyber-security companies into the Swiss market, so our track record has solidified nicely. We’ve formed key relationships with leading global cyber-security investors, who are working together with us. And as we’re looking to grow, we’re adding a few very interesting board members to our Advisory Board and we are raising our first round of external funds in Q1’16.

Any parting advice on first time motherhood/entrepreneurship?

Don’t ever give up making beautiful babies because of your career… My favorite example is a Swiss woman entrepreneur who built a multi-million dollar business and gave birth to 5 gorgeous children – all between the ages of 30 and 40!

Learn more about Cyverse and link up with Shira on LinkedIn.

2 Responses


October 17, 2015

Congratulations, Great interview, Shira!

Corielle Heath
Corielle Heath

October 06, 2015

Spectacular interview! Congrats on your first international #startupmom. When she talked about planning and how much time it requires, I thought of HelloParent, a new app made by a Mom in Ohio, named Candice Peters. I’ll connect you to her, Kate Marie!

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