AppsFlyer’s Oren Kaniel on what it takes to build a great product

In this week’s 100X Entrepreneur Podcast, Oren Kaniel talks about his entrepreneurial journey, building a team, company culture and more.
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If you are a mobile developer or ever have touched the mobile development part or are a marketer in the mobile space, then you might be familiar with the name AppsFlyer. 

One of the largest companies in mobile attribution, and mobile analytics for marketers, AppsFlyer helps businesses make the most of their marketing budgets.

Founded in 2011 by Oren Kaniel and Reshef Mann, AppsFlyer has grown leaps and bounds and is currently a favourite in the mobile marketing analytics space.  

In this week’s episode of 100x Entrepreneur Podcast with Siddhartha Ahluwalia, Oren talks about his entrepreneurial journey, how he got into from the VC world, building a team, culture, and more.

Why AppsFlyer?

About 10 to 12 years ago, Oren was doing a summer internship at a Philadelphia-based VC firm that researched mobile applications, data analytics, and marketing technologies. 

The research showed the massive opportunities in the mobile ecosystem as well as the challenges. 

“It just didn’t make sense to me that a company makes decisions without data and data analytics tools, and I was sure that someone needs to solve it,” Oren says. 

“I couldn’t find even one company to entirely represent the app developer, and that the company that is independent and unbiased, some sort of referee in the ecosystem, like an independent measurement that is not selling data or selling media or selling ads or selling their own app. So really a pure software to allow the ecosystem to work together and to collaborate together,” he adds.

And basically, this is what took him back to Israel to start working on this technology with Reshef Mann who is the CTO and co-founder of AppsFlyer. The co-founders have known each other since high school. 

Building a $300M ARR business

Oren recalls that it was difficult to get funding at the beginning of AppsFlyer’s journey.

“The good answer that you’ll get from a VC is no. In most cases you don’t get an answer. Back in 2011, the environment was very different. It was very hard for us also specifically to raise money. But I think that this is what created this company. And I think that there’s a lot to learn from it,” he says.

Oren says that eventually they stopped chasing VCs.

And, instead of focussing on investor decks, they focussed on building technology and on having great customer relationships.  This created the customer obsession kind of mindset in this company from the inception. 

“Another thing that we learned, every time that we take money, we want to make sure that the new investor is making a lot of money. And also, at the beginning, we didn’t really care about the revenue actually, so the revenue is secondary for us. And it was more important for us to work with great people and work with great companies,” highlights Oren.

Building a team

According to Oren, the company culture is kind of an irreversible process. 

“When you start the company, it’s really hard to change backwards, you can evolve it. But it’s hard to change. It is where we put a lot of the emphasis on it on company culture. And the culture is based basically on learning. One example is that making mistakes is a crucial part of learning and making mistakes is okay,” adds Oren.

“We also created some kind of frameworks or decision making frameworks. For example, in terms of values, we have only two. One of them is to only do things that make you proud to be part of the company. So basically, for every decision that you make, you need to ask yourself two questions. Does it make you more proud to be part of this company? And does it help our customers? If the answer is yes, for both, that’s a legitimate decision to make. If not, it’s not a good decision, you need to go and pick another one,” he adds.

The co-founder also highlights another framework that the company follows. The framework rests on four pillars—customers, privacy and security, innovation and helping businesses access APIs (application programming interface) and infrastructure. 

To know more, listen to the podcast here :

03:09 – Intro to AppsFlyer

03:55 – Starting with Entrepreneurship

05:53 – Identifying the opportunity and starting AppsFlyer

09:18 – How well positioned is Israel for capturing Asian and Global markets? 

12:55 – $300 Mn ARR from the US & rest of the Global market

13:46 – Journey from 0 to 1 and 1 to 10

20:13 – Zoho Sponsored – Prashant Ganti on Where do founders struggle with Payroll and how can they fix it?

22:25 – Ensuring faster growth by balancing pricing and revenue model

27:53 – Evolving of Go-To-Market insights over time

38:19 – Building the team and culture

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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