Sramana Mitra: Is this a venture-funded company or did you take the proceeds from the SmarTeam acquisition and build this organically?
Avinoam Nowogrodski: When it started, I was funding this company myself. We have raised $90 million today from VCs. The last round was $35 million that was announced two weeks ago. We got $35 million from Goldman Sachs to continue scaling our business.
Sramana Mitra: Who are the other VCs in the business?
Avinoam Nowogrodski: We have Benchmark, Carmel Ventures from Israel, and Opus Capital.
Sramana Mitra: Where are you today? Since you’ve raised $90 million, does that mean you’re at a $100 million run rate?
Avinoam Nowogrodski: We’re not there yet, but we’re making progress.
Sramana Mitra: If you look at the cloud collaboration space, besides what you are doing, what do you see coming in the horizon?
Avinoam Nowogrodski: Looking at this space, I think that there are huge opportunities from mainly three macro trends. One definitely is that the enterprise is moving to the cloud. That’s for sure and there’s no doubt about it. Second is that social network for the enterprise is not the solution. There was big promise in it but I think everybody understood that this is not the solution for enterprises. The third one is that I think it’s the area of user empowerment. I think that users are expected to participate within the innovation process of everything that happens within the company. Innovation is not just product innovation. Innovation is every angle of the company. Innovation is how we sell, market, support, develop, and even get feedback. A good employee today is dealing with innovation. Innovation is basically changing the way we do things.
In order to do this, you need to create a culture of innovation. The culture of innovation is based on democracy. You need to have an organization where people can feel a part of it and where people can participate. They must understand the impact of what they’re saying and doing and the organization is ready to take risk, and to let people do mistakes for innovation. Companies that run their businesses this way are going to be the big winners in the future. This opens up a lot of opportunities where user empowerment is not only a wishful thinking. You really need to give tools to the users in order to be empowered, in order to get the bigger picture of the business to understand the market, and to be able to facilitate creativity, brainstorming, and collaboration and get to a point where they can be really effective in innovating. I think that the biggest opportunity is coming from that point.
Sramana Mitra: User empowerment in the context of a corporation.
Avinoam Nowogrodski: Exactly.
Sramana Mitra: Terrific. I love what you’re doing actually. Thank you for your time.