Sramana Mitra: You moved on from there to work for Google?
Ari Paparo: Yes, they kept almost everyone. Now it’s a powerhouse in advertising. A lot of Google’s success outside of search really belongs to DoubleClick.
Sramana Mitra: Your career at DoubleClick was in product management?
Ari Paparo: Yes, I was the Director of Product Management. I was in charge of all the products that were sold to agencies and advertisers.
Sramana Mitra: Your product management career continued for a bit then.
Ari Paparo: It did. I left Google and became the Head of Product for AppNexus which was a unicorn ad tech company in New York. I was there during their fastest spurts of growth. I was employee number 75. By the time I left, there were 300 employees. That was pretty exciting.
That experience generated some of the ideas behind my current company. It’s in a very similar space as AppNexus. It’s trying to solve some of the problems that I had seen there.
Sramana Mitra: You started Beeswax right after AppNexus?
Ari Paparo: No, not right after. I took another position as the Head of Product Management for a publicly-traded company called Bazaarvoice.
Sramana Mitra: What was the philosophy that you were following in taking these positions? What are you trying to do?
Ari Paparo: MarTech space is very close to ad tech. Bazaarvoice was a good company and had some trouble. I was able to leverage my skills to help put it on the right path.
Sramana Mitra: AppNexus is a relatively hot company. Why did you leave?
Ari Paparo: It’s a bit difficult working there. Let’s just say that.
Sramana Mitra: All right. Let’s talk about Beeswax. What was the genesis of the idea? Where did you get the idea from? How did you get it off the ground?
Ari Paparo: The idea came from my experience with ad tech. I keep hearing from customers that no matter how many bells and whistles your ad tech system has, there were people who wanted to build their own. They wanted to get their engineers and data scientists building their own tech. Sometimes it’s for control. Sometimes to save money. Even the most advanced ad tech platform couldn’t make these customers happy.
I said to myself, “In the finance industry, a lot of people use Charles Schwab, but a lot of people also run their own hedge funds.” In ad tech, it’s similar. There’re a lot of Charles Schwabs out there in ad tech, but there is no way to run your own hedge fund without a giant expense. Beeswax started to solve that problem – to give really sophisticated advertising buyers a platform on which they could give them all the benefits of having their own tech.
Sramana Mitra: It’s almost like a private-label ad buying platform for people who want to do their own media buying as opposed to going through an ad exchange.
Ari Paparo: That’s exactly right. We still connect to the exchanges.