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When: Thursday morning, 10:00 am
Where: 12 Abba Eban Avenue, Ackerstein Towers Bldg. D, Herzliya, 11th floor
Who: Noam Band, co-founder, Dotomi and CEO, Timest; Amir Milio, CEO, Equivo
In contrast to many of the places that we visited throughout the week, Carmel Ventures is situated in a multi-story office complex, the kind more usually associated with Manhattan than Israel. The sleek elevator whisked us up to the eleventh floor and as we stepped out into the plush foyer one of my classmates commented, “You can smell the money in here.” The view out the window of the conference room was a magnificent overlook of the city with the Mediterranean in the background. From our vantage point we saw many construction projects underway. These and the many others we had seen throughout the country prompted the observation that, “Israel is under construction.”
Noam Band described his previous company, Dotomi. Dotomi specializes in personal banners based on individual tastes and interests. For example, a consumer may see a message, “Steve, you have ten thousand miles, and a trip to the Bahamas will cost you $300.” The ad is generated on the individual’s own computer and is not stored on any internet website. The class asked numerous questions about privacy concerns and Noam explained how the whole thing is based on ID numbers and the ads are only generated on each individual’s computer, so the company has been given a certificate that they are not violating privacy rights.
Dotomi’s clients are corporate giants such as VISA, American Express, and several prominent airlines. The professor asked how a small Israeli software company managed to catch the attention of such big corporate giants. Noam replied that he used a good deal of Israeli chutzpah and did not give up. He then advised us to not feel shy or embarrassed by people we don’t know and to feel comfortable sending an email even to top executives. “If relevant, you will get in.”
Noam is now the CEO at Timest which assigns a Rollout Readiness Risk Rating to companies implementing new software. Corporate IT departments are proficient at developing and testing software, but are challenged by the implementation stage, because people don’t like change. Timest performs various checks to test the readiness of the software deployment and advises the CEO on how to best position the company to buffer against people’s stubbornness to change.
Amir Milo spoke about his company, Equivio: a software company focused on text analytics for e-discovery. Essentially, they handle the multitudes of data that besiege our generation. One way is by grouping similar documents to get rid of near duplicates. Another way is by reconstructing email threads. Interestingly, Amir suggested reading “Crossing the Chasm”, which was discussed by Professor Matalon at the Tel Aviv University class we attended later that day.