This Entrepreneurial Story is about Oren Dror & Amit Halawa-Alon who Founded ‘imonomy’ located in Israel, Ramat Gan.
- Oren Dror- co-founder, graduated with an honors B.A. in Financial Risk Management from IDC Herzliya, and began his career in the IDF Intelligence Corps. He has over 15 years of experience in R&D, and before founding imonomy he worked as key account manager at Yedda, a startup that was later acquired by AOL. imonomy’s co-founder,
- Amit Halawa-Alon – co-founder, also started his career in the IDF Intelligence Corps 15 years ago. Before they founded imonomy he served as the VP of R&D at Yedda. Amit holds a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Tel Aviv University.
Amit and I founded imonomy in 2012. imonomy’s content-enrichment and monetization platform was then launched shortly after we founded the company.
[Answers by Oren Dror]
What Motivated you to start your Business?
Before founding imonomy, Amit and I were working together on some really content-heavy websites. Our jobs also allowed us to work hands-on with many publishers, and big name websites. It was apparent early on in our careers that visual elements on a web page are extremely important. We also started to understand that free images were high up on the list of publishers demands. Over time Amit and I started brainstorming about a way to meet the needs of publishers with an all-in-one solution. We decided that we wanted to develop a special engine that could read, and recognize titles, and paragraphs on website pages. Inevitably all signs lead us down the road to develop imonomy: a service that could save time and create improved-user engagement.
Tell us about your Business
imonomy is an Israeli-based start-up company. We developed the first Visual Semantic Engine, which is able to read and understand the text from web pages and automatically find the most suitable, high-quality, copyright-free image to accompany the content. Our focus when developing imonomy’s software was to provide an easy-to-use, free, all-in-one solution for publishers looking to add images, and increase revenues. Our service improves the aesthetic appeal of websites, while ensuring enhanced user-engagement. Through providing copyright-free images, imonomy increases page views, and improves bounce rates. Publishers worldwide are able to begin using imonomy by clicking the ‘Get Started’ button on our website, which leads them step-by-step through a quick-and-easy integration process.
What is a Day in a life of you like?
My days seem to all be quite different, which definitely keeps things interesting. Managing a start-up company is all about preparing for unexpected developments, and being mentally, and physically ready to handle the curve balls as they come at you. The one major constant in my life are the never ending number of calls and emails that come in, and which certainly keeps me on my feet and connected to the rest of the online community.
One particular skill you got right and gave you best results?
That would have to be my team building skills. I am proud to say that I work with an amazing team of highly skilled, creative individuals and our team only continues to grow. This group will be the fuel that will push our start-up to new heights.
What have been your biggest challenges in running your Business so far?
Developing a new product and introducing it to the market is always challenging. imonomy is a a brand new service, based on unfamiliar technology and while our company is moving at a very steady pace, we know that the key is to keep spreading the word about imonomy.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We are staying focused on our technology, and always building on it. We love coming out with new upgrades, and we listen to our current publishers, whose comments and feedback help us improve and grow. Staying positive helps us overcome any challenge we encounter. At the end of the day imonomy is an invaluable service that we offer to publishers for free, so standing behind our company isn’t very difficult.
What have you found the most effective way to get new clients?
We have a great marketing team. In just four months we managed to increase our page rank on Alexa by 400%. It was an incredible journey, and the whole office took part in creating buzz, which certainly helped us acquire new clients. We also have a great team of publisher success managers who work one-on-one with new, and prospective publishers. I think there is no single, magical step to getting new clients. You have to work the market from every angle, and we have a great team who has really focused-in on doing so.
What advice do you give to other business owners?
I think the best advice to other business owners is to never give up. If you truly believe that you have a great idea, then the only thing that comes between you and your dream is how hard you are ready to work for it. The start-up scene is getting more and more populated, and that is making it very hard for a new company to come onto the scene and really breakthrough. I honestly believe, however, that there is no limit to how hard you can push, and that the key to success is always at your fingertips.
How did you keep motivated through difficult times?
We haven’t encountered a really difficult time up to now. Sure, some days are harder than others, but overall imonomy is a great team and at the base of it is a great product. I think the key to staying motivated is believing in what you have. Luckily for Amit and myself, we developed a great service that we stand by. I have no doubt that as long as we stay focused, and continue to build on what we already have then we will be able to face anything that comes our way.
What’s Your Marketing, Funding and Team Building Strategy?
We developed imonomy so that it would be free, and accessible to everyone. The next step in our marketing ‘game plan’ now is to spread the word about imonomy as far as it will reach. We want imonomy to be a well-known name, and more than that, we want it to be a trusted name. Earlier this year we closed a seed round of $400k in Angel Investments. All of our investors come from an entrepreneurial background, and some of them have been involved in other start-ups, so we were grateful to get them on board with imonomy. Our next step, is to take the funding we have already earned and continue to build imonomy in a way that requires minimal funding.
So far we’ve been lucky to see a wealth of major achievements. The creation of the first ever Visual Semantic Engine, which is the technology behind imonomy, was our greatest achievement to date, and the reason we are here today. Closing a seed round of Angel Investments was also a big accomplishment for us, and reassurance that we have a great company in the making. Perhaps the biggest, and most fulfilling achievement of all, however, are the thousands of publishers who are successfully using imonomy, and continuing to grow in number daily.
What’s your favorite quote?
“A picture is worth a thousand words”
Who inspires you?
Marissa Mayer CEO at Yahoo has definitely been a big source of inspiration for me. She has been heading Yahoo in great style, and I am always impressed when I think about everything she must have on her plate.
Do you have a Business Philosophy?
My business philosophy focuses on giving the publisher a value proposition he can’t get anywhere else. Our business model focuses on providing simple, and easy-to-use technology that will save any website owner valuable time. Seeing as free images, as well as in-image monetization models are so high in demand, we have seen and continue to see a lot of positive business opportunities. Ultimately, a service that provides free images, saves time, and generates new income is a valuable tool.
Startup Freak wishes both of you, All the Best!