In a Red Hot Tech Economy, Datorama Doubles Down on Innovation

by Valerie Nadi
 
In 2018, Salesforce acquired Datorama, a leading cloud-based, AI-powered marketing intelligence and analytics platform for enterprises, agencies, and publishers. Founded in 2012, Datorama helps many well-known global agencies and brands — including PepsiCo, Ticketmaster, Trivago, Unilever, Pernod Ricard, and Foursquare — optimise marketing campaigns, automate reporting, and make faster data-driven decisions. Efi Cohen is one of Datorama’s co-founders.
 

Datorama co-founder Efi Cohen understands the appeal of startups. He joined one right after he finished his military service in the late 1990s. He was employee #1.

“We began in an apartment in Tel Aviv. I was a software developer. Ten years later, with hundreds of employees and hundreds of millions in revenue, the company went public on NASDAQ. In another year, the company was acquired for a half billion dollars.”

 A lot of entrepreneurs take a break once their startup is acquired — enjoying the fruits of their labor. But Efi, now with a decade plus of experience, decided to jump right back into the startup fray. In 2012, only a year after the acquisition, Efi, his colleague Ran Sarig, and Katrin Ribant — a former customer — founded Datorama. 

“We were domain experts in the marketing technology space. We saw a need and were amazed that no one was solving that need. It seemed like perfect timing. So, we decided to dive in and start a company.”

Salesforce — a true North Star

“When we started, we were a SaaS-based company. And Salesforce wrote the book on SaaS-based companies. It was our true North Star.”

Datorama learned a lot following in the footsteps of Salesforce. And since the two companies joined, Efi sees many similarities between them in terms of culture and the way they operate.

“You can see the synergy that Datorama has with the core business of Salesforce. And it comes to play when you look at the prospect and lead acquisition funnel and the sales pipeline. And now we’ve gone from a 30-sales rep organization to 3,000 sales managers telling the Datorama story.”

Over the past five years, Datorama nearly doubled in size every year. To Efi, the Salesforce acquisition means Datorama can grow even faster. And Salesforce knows how to do it successfully.

“Salesforce already has a lot of things figured out. Pre-acquisition, we had to learn from our mistakes. We didn’t have access to a lot of best practises and the know-how Salesforce has internally.”

Solving problems — engineering the future

Efi sees himself as an engineer who wants to build technology that solves problems. And he wants as many people as possible to have access to that technology.

“That's what drives me and that's the immediate satisfaction I get from my work. Being in Salesforce gives me a much larger audience and a lot more resources to build with.”

When Efi looks at the potential for Datorama in the Israeli tech market — driven by more and more large companies doubling down on Israel — he sees nothing but opportunity.

“With the acquisition and our organic growth, we’re making a statement: ‘We’re here to stay and we’re going to get bigger.’”

The Israeli tech market — Silicon Valley revisited

It should come as no surprise that Israel’s tech market is very competitive. The major players that dominate the Silicon Valley scene all take part in the Israeli market as well.

“You have Google and Facebook. Oracle, Amazon, and Microsoft. Microsoft research and development (R&D) has been here for 30 years. In parallel to that, you have a very vibrant startup scene. It’s bigger than ever, and it's amazing to see how the two coexist.”

Efi acknowledges that many people have the startup dream. There are one-time entrepreneurs. And those who, for a variety of reasons, would prefer working in startups.

“It’s a generalization, but those with families often prefer the bigger organization. That seems to be the way the market splits. There are pros and cons with every option. And I think the way the big corporations deal with that is around compensation.”

For Salesforce in particular, Efi also sees a substantial differentiation in terms of benefits.

“The benefits Salesforce provides here in Israel are very compelling in this market.”

Ohana — not lost in translation

The values of teamwork and family have always been strong at Datorama, which makes it a perfect match with Salesforce and its culture of Ohana. The concept of Ohana, the Hawaiian term for family, is a deep-seated support system constantly nurtured inside Salesforce.

Prior to the acquisition, Datorama had 400 employees in 17 offices. Yet staying connected — with modern communication tools and a lot of travel by the founders — ensured that everyone in the company felt included.

“We love the Ohana concept; it resonates very strongly with us. People are happy to come to work and at the end of the day there’s a lot of social interaction among employees. We’re more than peers. We’re friends.” A lot of official and unofficial company activities maintain the Datorama culture in and out of the office.

One of the synergies between Datorama and Salesforce culture that Efi finds especially satisfying is their attitudes toward giving back and volunteering.

“The whole volunteer time off (VTO) concept is amazing. And we've been doing it in a less structured way prior to the acquisition. So, the combination is beautiful.”

Challenge and opportunity are another vital part of the Salesforce workplace culture that Efi admires.

“Our office is a beautiful, open environment that encourages people to speak their minds and work as a team. We are a dynamic and agile organization that grows fast. Things change constantly; there are opportunities everywhere. And the emphasis on equality and inclusion resonates with the wider Israel community.”

If someone is a team player — willing to learn and grow — Efi believes a career in Salesforce and Datorama offers enormous potential for personal and professional growth. You can apply for open positions right now!

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