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Our Dream Is to Be the Next Salesforce or Facebook, Says Appsflyer CEO

Interview

Our Dream Is to Be the Next Salesforce or Facebook, Says Appsflyer CEO

Oren Kaniel spoke to Calcalist following AppsFlyer's Tuesday announcement that it had completed a $210 million funding round at a company valuation of $1.6 billion

Meir Orbach | 16:21  23.01.2020
In the time that has passed since its previous funding round, Israeli marketing analytics company AppsFlyer Ltd.'s revenues increased five-fold, according to Oren Kaniel, the company's CEO and co-founder. Kaniel spoke with Calcalist on Tuesday following Appsfyer's announcement that it had completed a $210 million funding round at a company valuation of $1.6 billion.

Calcalist first reported that AppsFlyer was in the process of raising the round in October.

The past three years had felt like dog years, Kaniel said. "In 2019, we recruited 420 employees. In terms of revenues, we made in one year what we previously made in seven."

AppsFlyer Co-Founders Reshef Mann (left) and Oren Kaniel. Photo: AppsFlyer AppsFlyer Co-Founders Reshef Mann (left) and Oren Kaniel. Photo: AppsFlyer AppsFlyer Co-Founders Reshef Mann (left) and Oren Kaniel. Photo: AppsFlyer
The company's previous round, $56 million, closed in 2017. Kaniel did not comment on the company's valuation at that time, but estimates put it at $300 million. "The majority of our stakeholders participated in this recent round," Kaniel said. "Magma Venture Partners, our first backer, joined in as well. They have already seen returns of 1,000 times their initial investment."

Founded in 2011, AppsFlyer's software tracks and analyzes the performance of marketing campaigns on mobile apps, enabling app operators to know how their most profitable users reached the app—be it Google searches, Facebook ads, Twitter, commercial text messages, or television spots. AppsFlyer employs a team of 850 people in 18 offices around the world.

This week's round was led by General Atlantic and participated by existing investors Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing (PCI), Qumra Capital, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP), Pitango Venture Capital, and Magma. The new round brought the company's total funding raised to date to $294 million, according to company statements.

"Had you asked me five years ago if I could imagine being able to hire 40 people in one month, I would have said no," Kaniel said. "Our biggest dream is to become a company like Salesforce or Facebook, with tens of thousands of employees. But in Israel there are only 65,000 programmers, so it is unlikely that we will continue to recruit all of our employees here. In the past two years, we have grown from 80 developers to 260, and as a forward-looking step, we are hiring everywhere," he said.

"We are building a company where people want to work. The type of company we would have wanted to work for early in our career," Kaniel said.

Commenting on this week's funding news, Kaniel said that in the context of Appsflyer's revenues, which he said are approximately $150 million annually, it is not a "huge amount."

"Our belief is that revenues are secondary; we have to be forward-thinking and work to realize our long-term vision. We could see smaller growth one year, but we want to give our marketing team all the tools they need to help them win. If I ask a client who is their favorite service-provider, I want to be number one," Kaniel said.

Kaniel said that Appsflyer still has several years before it will attempt an initial public offering. "We could receive an offer of an astronomical amount of money that we would not be able to resist, but at the end of the day, I want to go all the way to the end," Kaniel said. "If I was planning to sell the company next year, I would not have needed so many employees, and I would not need to invest in them. When a company is exit-oriented, it begins to decline, and we don't want to go there, we enjoy the journey."
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