Born in 1959, Nir Barkat has spent his life in Jerusalem. He served six years in the IDF, as a member of the Paratroopers Brigade, and completed his service with the rank of major. Barkat received a bachelor's degree in computer science and completed extensive studies towards an MBA at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1988, he founded the BRM Group, one of the first entities worldwide to develop anti-virus software. As CEO, he initiated joint ventures with US companies. BRM later became a technological incubator, investing in companies such as BackWeb and Checkpoint Software. Barkat was chairman of Checkpoint for its first four years. In early 2000, Barkat was a founding partner of BRM Capital, a $150 million Venture Capital Fund that focuses on software and communication infrastructures, specializing in investments in Israel-related companies and in helping them to become global leaders in their field. In January 2003, he ran for mayor, only to lose to Uri Lupolianski of United Torah Judaism. Barkat has led the opposition in the city council for the last five and half years. During this time, he was involved in numerous entrepreneurial projects in the capital. In addition to being the founder and vice chairman of StartUp Jerusalem, Barkat is also the founder and chairman of "New Spirit," a nonprofit helping university students in Jerusalem. He is married to the South African-born Beverly, and has three daughters. He lives in Jerusalem's Beit Hakerem neighborhood.