In 2009, Autodesk came to Israel due to the acquisition of Iris Shoor’s Visual Tao, and now she is doing it again with Oribi, her latest startup, which has now been acquired by Microsoft's LinkedIn. As part of that acquisition, LinkedIn will open a new research and development center in Israel. The value of the deal has not been announced, but it is estimated that it was worth tens of millions of dollars. To date, Oribi has raised about $30 million.
Are your efforts really paying off for your company?
The product developed by Oribi focuses on analyzing marketing results and helps businesses, large and small, understand where and whether it is worth investing more resources. Among other things, Oribi provides insights into how much each marketing effort really contributes to the company's goals. For example, Oribi helps understand how a site functions, does a company blog really contribute to sales and subscriptions, how a company’s social media activity affects sales, and why users leave their site. The information collected can be exported by users to tools like Facebook, Google, email management systems, marketing management systems and more.
Oribi was founded in 2016 by Iris Shoor, the serial entrepreneur who previously founded Takipi and Visual Tao, which was acquired by Autodesk in 2009. Before its acquisition, Oribi raised approximately $27 million in two major funding rounds. Investors in the company include Ibex Investors, MoreTech, TLV Partners, S-Capital, and Sequoia. According to LinkedIn, the acquisition will help it "maximize ROI in marketing strategies."
Shoor reveals what led to the acquisition, which is not what you would expect
On her Facebook page, Shoor wrote, "In most cases, exits represent the end of one journey and the beginning of another. The feeling here is different… Unlike the classic story where an entrepreneur did not even think about selling their company, I, like 99% of entrepreneurs, always thought about this scenario too… One of the main reasons I started thinking about selling the company seriously was because of the excellent market situation in 2021. On the face of it, 2021 was a celebratory year for entrepreneurs, with fundraisers of particularly high value, an infinity of new funds entering the field and IPOs left, right and center. Amazing, right? To that, I am not so sure."
Shoor claims that many companies raised higher sums and were valued higher than they should be in 2021, which can lead them to a point where it is impossible to continue to raise more funds or reach an exit at the same rate. 'I found myself at a point where it was clear to me that if I tried to raise more for another round, I would not have the option to sell the company in the coming years. Of course, I could have had another round and raised money at a reasonable, past value, but then it would have created problematic signals for investors in future rounds or for acquiring companies.” The bottom line is that when companies are too busy buffing up their revenues and trying to quickly raise their value, they lose focus on stability within, which may lead them to not being able to meet their goals as promised and build a successful product.
Shoor adds that while many Facebook (and, of course, LinkedIn) members have celebrated many exits and offerings, she concluded that she really does not want to run a public company. “Yes, I know it's something that no entrepreneur should say out loud, let alone think about. But it also put me in an identity crisis about who I am as an entrepreneur and CEO. I'm a builder in my essence and really like to create things. As the company grew, I moved further away from product management, marketing and working closely with the various teams, and I noticed that I started to enjoy the work less and wasn't as happy."
"In recent years, I’ve also begun to believe less in the 'growth at any cost' culture. In many cases, rapid growth comes at the expense of building good products or building a good culture. And so, when so many companies only focus on the growth of at least 2-3 times the revenue each year, they're created a company with an unstable foundation– with no real ability to reach profitability. This is a terrible situation for entrepreneurs to be in - the choice between either meeting goals, without which it will not be possible to recruit a next round of investments, or the desire to build a good and stable company and an excellent product." According to her, in the summer of 2021, she decided to explore the possibility of acquisition by the end of the year, and after dozens of meetings with LinkedIn, the long-awaited offer arrived.
Following the acquisition, Shoor will lead the implementation of Oribi on LinkedIn, and will be more involved in product management - a role she defines as one that contains "more construction and creativity". She concludes with a rather amusing story: "A few weeks ago, at the height of the deal's secrecy and long before it was signed, I spoke to an entrepreneur and at the end of the conversation he said to me, 'Well, then we'll be in touch on LinkedIn.' Right away my heart dropped - how did he know about the deal? Should I ask him where he heard about it? But then he added, "We should already be connected on LinkedIn but if we are not, I'll send you over a request right away”.