How jewelry inspired a young techie to launch a successful company
This visionary has built SimilarWeb into a force for web and mobile app analysis.
The 32-year-old CEO of a leading Israeli tech company took a rather circuitous route to get to where he is today. Or Offer's company SimilarWeb, which specializes in web measurement and competitive intelligence, gained acclaim this week when it released a study that showed people from nine countries spent less time on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter than they did a year ago.
SimilarWeb wasn't an idea that came to the young founder while working his way up at a Silicon Valley tech startup. Rather, Offer had his sleeves rolled up, working for his family's business.
Offer was born in Jerusalem to artistic parents, his father a painter and mother a jewelry designer. Offer wanted to find a career and he decided to help out at his mother's jewelry business. He believed he could scale the small company into a brand-name jewelry empire by leveraging the Internet and the computer programming skills he cultivated as a kid. "The first thing I did was to integrate the digital world and create a website to sell models and designs of jewelry in the U.S.," Offer told Informilo. "You could choose the model and order them; it was very advanced for those days and the business grew very rapidly."
Offer increased his output and started selling to more jewelry stores and then, eventually, directly to consumers. Soon his staff grew from 10 to 20, and Offer hired factories in India and China to keep up with demand. He then partnered with a friend to focus on expanding the enterprise by opening a chain of jewelry stores.
One momentous day, he had a meeting with a partner selling the jewelry in the United States, who commented that his designs were beautiful and strikingly similar to David Yurman, the American jewelry designer.
Offer wasn't familiar with the David Yurman brand and began researching the company. He immediately fell in love with the company's jewelry. But he was shocked he had never heard of them, particularly since he fancied himself an industry insider.
He pondered what other designers he wasn't aware of. But he couldn't seem to find other sites on the Internet that carried similar designers like David Yurman – similar being the key word here.
This very predicament ultimately led Offer to conceive the idea of SimilarWeb. He believed the internet desperately needed a user-friendly web tool that would offer users recommendations on their browser.
Offer funded the startup solely from the jewelry business and in 2007, at the age of 24, he launched SimilarWeb. In no-time, SimilarWeb (then called SimilarSites) began fielding phone calls from researchers who wanted to collect data about people's online behaviors.
In 2011, Offer decided he wanted to become the leading measurement company in the digital world. The initial goal was to take over competitor Alexa in ranking, which the company accomplished in 2013. Now, SimilarWeb has expanded its offerings and measures every website and mobile app, providing insights that marketers, analysts and industry leaders rely on. The company currently analyzes 3 million mobile apps and 80 million websites.
While it's been rumored that SimilarWeb will soon be a billion-dollar business, Offer humbly points out that he feels that his company is only at the beginning of its journey. "A billion dollars is a nice milestone, but our goal is to build a sustainable company," Offer told From The Grapevine. "Our mission is to reveal the secrets of online success, and if we execute on our mission the valuation will follow."
SimilarWeb continues to expand and is staffing up accordingly. This year alone, the company opened its first office in the U.S. in New York City and grew from 60 employees to 220. SimilarWeb is hiring talent in New York and Israel, to the speed of 20 new recruits per month.
"What we aim to do with our hiring is to make sure that anyone who fills a role has to be an expert at their job and be able to do it better than their manager," says Offer. "It's important to be aggressive when looking for candidates. Our HR team is continually hunting for the next best candidate."
Something tells us this is only the beginning for SimilarWeb.
Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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