The Venture Capitalists Behind Superfish

Lots of people are talking about the Superfish malware debacle. People are starting to understand just how bad this situation is.

What I haven’t seen so far why venture capitalists would have backed such a startup.

Superfish investors, board members and advisors include Andrea Stavopouslos (Draper Fisher Jurvestson), Abe Finkelstein (Vintage Investment Partners), Anat Segal (Xenia Venture Capital), Shai Saul (DFJ again) and others.

The company has raised a total of nearly $20 million in venture capital, from people I interact with all the time.

Superfish tells the world they’re a simple visual search startup.

Did these VCs and other individuals, who are on the board of directors and board of advisors, know the truth about Superfish?

If they did, it’s bad. If they didn’t, it’s also bad.

Other startups that use the same SSL intercept module from Komodia include Lavasoft (a free antivirus provider) (now you know why the antivirus is free).

I’d like to see the tech press dig into this. And the venture capitalists involved, particularly the board members, should talk about what they knew and didn’t know.

13 thoughts on “The Venture Capitalists Behind Superfish

  1. Easy to imagine a board meeting wherein someone said “what’s the worst thing that could happen”….and they move to the next agenda item….

  2. WaltFrench says:

    Pretty sure that legally, SuperFish the company is responsible—to Lenovo—for the actions of software that it provided; Lenovo was the firm that had full control over whether they shipped that software TO CUSTOMERS—not all Lenovo customers got it, so obviously they made that call.

    “Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan.” Not a lot of credit here.

  3. Forbes dug up surveillance background on Adi Pinhas, CEO at Superfish. Includes Wireds 2012 alleged working with the NSA to tap Verizon’s communications lines. http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/02/19/superfish-need-to-know/

    Above VC’s need to hold their partners to higher standards, especially Draper Fisher Jurvestson, supposed to be blue chip!!

  4. Forbes dug up the surveillance background on Adi Pinhas, CEO at Superfish. Tumultuous history, includes alleged working with the NSA to tap Verizon’s communication lines. http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/02/19/superfish-need-to-know/

    All the above VC’s need to hold higher standards. Draper Fisher Jurvestson is supposed to be a Silicon Valley blue chip.

  5. All the focus on the security issues is missing the point, IMO.

    They’re bad, don’t get me wrong. But so is displaying your customer’s ads on other people’s web sites. This could have been done securely using, e.g., a browser plugin, but it would still be unethical.

    It may even constitute tortious interference with business; some of the ads were borderline pornographic, according to reports.

  6. kteare says:

    Long history here. DFJ invested years ago. At that time they were in the same space as Munjal Shah’s like.com – image recognition. Shaul Uli Gal-Oz was CEO. I was an advisor. Shaul and I left years ago. This seems to be the founders, following a failed model (including refusing a Google offer to be acquired) fell on bad times and reverted to some other model.

  7. suslovainn says:

    Reblogged this on woodpeker and commented:
    in my mind

  8. Joe DiLeo says:

    Hi Mike:

    You and I have corresponded on a few occasions. I believe you the perfect individual to send this note and sincerely hope you’ll give it a good read.
    (Pardon me using the comments section to relay this, I do not have a current email)

    I bootstrapped my first startup to a team of 80/$14M Rev/30% net. I worked 100 hour weeks, slept on my office couch and became, after a decade of grinding, a walking testament to all a poor kid can accomplish if he works hard enough.

    Withiin 24 months of the financial collapse it was all gone—The company. The house. The toys. My children’s college funds. My self-respect.
    The last years have been defined by a series of false starts, mistakes, depression and misery. I’ve had moments that I could taste the metallic barrell of a pistol in my mouth; my love for my children is what has kept me breathing.

    I must begin anew as living this way isn’t an option any longer. Passionately and unabashedly I aim to recapture the man I used to be. I’d like to ask for your help.

    My intent is to periscope a trip from NYC to SF, interviewing founders in cities along the way. The feed will only stop when I’m sleeping, it will be a 18 hour per day production and the first of its kind on this dynamic new platform.

    The content will be raw, utterly genuine and compelling. I will hide nothing about my story as I speak with the generation that wants to change the world, in a way that only a poor to rich to poor to hell & back peer can accomplish. Fuck the TC, Pando, ReCode, etc. interviews; they are garbage speaking to unicorns, valuations and meaningless fundings. I will speak to the human condition, the agony vs. joy of this game we play.

    Upon reachinig the Bay Area I’ll take the audience on a tour, something founders around the world will find compelling. I’ll bring them to Bucks in Woodside, the Coupa in PA, Red Rock in Mountain View and take them along with me as we arrive at YC and ask Sam to take a meeting.

    When you founded TC you did it as a mechanism to facilitate the due diligence and relationships that would enable him to make a decision on his next move. I intend to use this process in much the same way.

    I have a wife, three children and nearly zero funds. My ask is that you employ your network and brand to assist me find the sponsorships that can make this project happen. I will pay forward your consideration in every way possible, until my dying day.

    Respectfully,
    Joe
    http://linkedin.com/in/josephdileo

  9. Why would they invest this much behind this startup? Is it that good?

  10. Wackyy says:

    We missed you. Please start blogging again. I am a big fan of you and really missing you.

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