He is just 34 years old, and he already heads an Internet company, which he founded, Taboola, which has hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue annually, and has a company value that has been estimated by various media sources somewhere in the vicinity of $1.5 billion. (He himself will tell you that he has no idea how the media arrived at this estimate, and, on the other hand, he is very cagey perhaps for good reason - about the structure of the company’s ownership.)
Adam Singolda, son of the famous Israeli guitarist Avi Singolda, is the man behind the “You may also like” links, which you probably encounter at the end of every article online. Ironically, in Israel, this line is usually associated with Taboola’s top competitor, Israel’s Outbrain Inc., which dominates local content recommendations. Around the world, the matter is somewhat different: despite the fact that the two companies are similar in size, new data published this week by comScore indicates that Taboola is ahead of Outbrain in the US on impression rates and the number of users who are exposed to their recommendations.
The idea for Taboola came to Singolda right after his service as a commander in an IDF mathematical unit ("better than 8200!"). He did not waste any time, and, immediately upon his release from the military, he began tossing the idea around and raising roughly half a million dollars in seed money from private investors, such as Joey Low, Zohar Gilon and Avigdor Willenz, and Zvi Limon.
Later, he embarked on a few more rounds of fundraising, led by Evergreen Venture Partners (rounds one and two, which raised $1.4 million and $4.5 million, respectively), Marker LLC (rounds three and four, which raised $9 million and $10 million, respectively), and Pitango Venture Capital (round five, which raised $15 million).
The current fundraising round, which is considered a “pre-IPO” round, is for $80 million, double Taboola’s funds raised to date. Although Singolda is unwilling to detail the ownership structure, the fund raising rounds do give some indication of the distribution of holdings in the privately-held company.
Might there be an exit?
“We hope to build a company that will be here for thirty years. I'm lucky that the company’s management is something of a “black swan”: extraordinary, amazing, strong people - we have fun as a team. We think that in the future, we will have a lot of room for help, for something to help us know what to do first, and when. It’s a marathon.”
The company’s sales and management offices are in New York, and it also has offices in London, Los Angeles, Bangkok, and, of course, Tel Aviv, which is where half of the company’s workers (about 100) are based.
Are you proud that the company is based in Israel?
“Super-proud. It's not something to be taken for granted. It’s our wild card - that a company from Tel Aviv can grow like this. I think it’s really exciting.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 27, 2014
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