Onn Manelson | Making a H-Tech Exit & Optimizing Amazon Ads

Episode Summary

In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Onn Manelson, the founder and CEO of RevenueWize, shares his experience in optimizing Amazon ads and his eCommerce growth story.

 

One particular obstacle Amazon sellers encounter on this great journey of e-commerce is advertising. Amazon advertising can be very tricky and you need the right tools to be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently so that you can continue to scale and grow your business. Yoni Mazor of Prime Talk shares one particular solution for Amazon sellers that makes navigating the world of advertising a much less daunting prospect.

 

In today’s episode, Prime Talk has teamed up with Onn Manelson, the found and CEO of RevenueWize, an advertising optimization solution for Amazon sellers. RevenuWize helps Amazon sellers simplify their PPC with powerful reporting tools that allow them to take full control of their business and increase revenue. RevenueWize has been proven to increase sales by 25%, reduce ACOS by 22%, and save sellers 4.5 hours per week on PPC.

 

Onn Manelson talks about his incredible journey from the great world of giant enterprises to the Amazon world. So if you’re an Amazon seller that is stumped by advertising, or if you just want to increase your revenues and grow your business, then this episode is for you!

 

Learn more about RevenueWize!

Learn more about GETIDA’s Amazon reimbursement solution software

 

Find the full transcript below

 

Yoni Mazor 0:06

Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of Prime Talk. Today I'm really excited to have a special guest. I'm having Onn Manelson. He's the founder and CEO of RevenueWize, which is an advertising optimization platform for Amazon sellers. So Onn, welcome to the show.

 

Onn Manelson 0:23

Hey, thank you very much Yoni. Thanks for having me over. Really great to be here today.

 

Yoni Mazor 0:28

Our pleasure. Well, where are we finding you? Where are you located?

 

Onn Manelson 0:31

Well, I'm actually now in a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel, the sun is shining. It's pretty warm these days. But unfortunately, COVID-19 has put us a bit back into a bit of a quarantine. So we're trying to kind of figure out things right now. But overall, all is good. And I'm here in Israel, sending everybody warm regards.

 

Yoni Mazor 0:53

Very nice. Beautiful. What's that name of that little suburb next to Tel Aviv? If you don't mind me asking?

 

Onn Manelson 0:58

Oh, you're probably referring to Ra'anana.

 

Yoni Mazor 1:01

Yeah. You heard everybody? Ra’anana. Full disclosure, that's the city I was born and raised. So he's talking to us straight from the source.

 

Onn Manelson 1:11

Yeah. Straight from the source.

 

Yoni Mazor 1:13

Shout out to my hometown. Much respect and love. Okay, beautiful. So thank you for joining us today. And I know today you're going to share your story. It’s going to be the story of Onn Manelson. You know, you're going to share with us your background, you know, where you from, where’d you grow up, where'd you go to school? How did you begin your professional career? How'd you become a business owner? So without further ado, let's dive right into it.

 

Onn Manelson 1:36

I actually was born in Israel, my father went to study and we moved to Canada. So between the ages of three to 10, I lived in Montreal, so I speak a little bit of French as well. I’m Quebecois yeah? So that pretty much helped me as I grew up. Growing up and living in Israel, you know, great childhood, we came back to Israel when I was 10. And, you know, and since then I've been living...I have, you know, I lived in London a few years, I lived in the States for a few years. But overall, Israel is my base in that work. Today, I'm raising my kids. I don't know if everybody knows this. But in Israel, you have three years of mandatory military service. So at the age of 18, you have to go for three years to military service. You know, some folks become combat soldiers, either go into intelligence corps, and there are different units in different measures. And what I found is that compared to folks in the US and around the world that do not have that stage, it's a stage where, although we do kind of like waste three years, because, you know, we don't get to go to college or university during that time. But it gives you a very, very good lesson in life, in terms of, you know, maturity, and, you know, suddenly at the age of 18, that's it, you're in the military. So that was, you know, part of that journey. And I think it's also related to the fact that Israel is considered a startup nation. And it's part of that as well. The people here that have to go to the military learn, you learn a lot in the military, and a lot of startups actually, especially in cybersecurity, in different tech areas. They're usually very known, like Payoneer and others, which I've seen that a lot of our listeners are familiar with, they’re all Israeli companies that are from former officers in the intelligence corps.

 

Yoni Mazor 3:25

So hold on. So you’re 18 years old, you joined the army, the IDF, right, Israeli Defense Force, and which capacity? Which role?

 

Onn Manelson 3:31

So I started off actually as a combat soldier in the green beret unit for nearly two years.

 

Yoni Mazor 3:38

Well, what's their name in Hebrew? Give a shout out so I understand a little bit more. I know. Yeah. Yeah. It's called the (Hebrew), okay, good. Infantry. Yeah.

 

Onn Manelson 3:49

I started. And I became, I wasn't an officer but I came to sergeant. So I was in charge of 60-60 soldiers at the time at the peak. And that's when I had an injury, which really, really bothered me and then I moved more to different unit, more into the intelligence corps. Until I finished there my military service, three years. I actually went and met my wife in the military. It's pretty common, you know, lots of people, you know, they meet their spouses in the military as well. So it's kind of, you know, a bit of an incubator.

 

Yoni Mazor 4:22

You know what they say? There's a big book, it's called “Love and War”, right? Love it. Yeah. So or “Peace and War” or something like that. We call it “love and war”, we have our own version, you find love and you find war in the army, especially in Israel. So I’m happy you found your wife, that’s a good thing.

 

Onn Manelson 4:36

Yeah. So you know that the next thing that usually people do coming out of the military, they take a big trip around the world. You know, after being three years without the ability to travel or do stuff and kind of like come home every three weeks, four weeks, then people have this bug where they really really have to, you know, Israelis have to go out there and spend some time overseas. Usually it's in the Far East, or it’s in the South or Central America, depending on what they like, so I traveled a bit. I've been to...

 

Yoni Mazor 5:05

What year? Let's give some context with the years? What year did you spread your wings and start traveling the world?

 

Onn Manelson 5:09

96.

 

Yoni Mazor 5:13

96, you got released, probably save up some money. And where'd you go to the east to the west? 

 

OM 5:17

Right. So I started ...Yeah, so I started, you know, obviously, you know, working a little bit, you know, as a waiter bartender and these kinds of jobs until you make some money. And then I traveled actually to Central America. 

 

Yoni Mazor 5:31

Which countries? Give it a shout out real quick.

 

Onn Manelson 5:32

Yeah. So Panama, Costa Rica, that whole area, and then back up to the US, to the States as well… 

 

Yoni Mazor 5:44

And how long were you in South America? How many months? 

 

Onn Manelson 05:43

So three months.

 

Yoni Mazor 05:44

Three months. Got it, then back to the US?

 

Onn Manelson 5:46

And then to the US for a couple more months, and then basically got back to Israel and started..went to university. Yeah, I went to Tel Aviv University. So it's a pretty fairly known university, very strong, and IT technology and other aspects. I did my bachelor in engineering for four years. Industrial Engineering Management. until I hit my first, well let’s call it, you know, serious work. Serious role.

 

Yoni Mazor 6:15

The professional world. Yeah.

 

Onn Manelson 6:18

Right. So it was a very, very large firm, I think it's less known today was called Mercury Interactive. It's one of the major largest Israeli corporations. At the peak, it was a $15 billion corporation with, you know, 1000s of employees worldwide.

 

Yoni Mazor 6:35

What was the solution or technology they were offering?

 

Onn Manelson 6:37

So they did production monitoring for IT and major systems mainly for enterprise 1000s of employees, I actually relocated to London, to the, what we call the European headquarters...

 

Yoni Mazor 6:51

Which year was that?

 

Onn Manelson6:52

That was in 2002. Yep, in 2002.

 

Yoni Mazor 6:57

So you were already there for six years before because you mentioned you traveled to South America, Central America and North America around 96-97. And then four years right? Into university, you graduate around what 2000? 2001?

 

Onn Manelson 7:12

I graduated in 2000, I started to work at Mercury in 2000 that year. After two years, I basically relocated to the London...to the European headquarters. So I stayed there for two years, years till 2002. It was pretty interesting, considering the fact that I used to travel a lot. So I finished about four passports traveling, I used to travel business trips to countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Italy, used to hop on a plane, go to meeting, spend some time, mainly major enterprise, whether those was banking, industry, financial industries, insurance, things of that, where we used to check out and they used to look at the performance of their transactions, and see that there aren't any failures. And there aren't any IT related issues that are preventing from the transactions to go through, you know, like you transfer money, and do all sorts of things. So we used to monitor all these kinds of transactions, and make sure that there aren't any bottlenecks related to IT, that are implicating and negatively affecting ….

 

Yoni Mazor 8:15

When you say bottlenecks related to IT, you mean bugs, basically, on a high level, or I guess, lower resolution level. It's debugging, like bugs. 

 

Onn Manelson 8:23

So it's not really debugging. But let's just imagine right now that you're doing a wire transfer through your bank, and you're online. So you have different processes that you have to go through right? Authentication, okay, when you log into, and you access the system, so we used to monitor the login and authentication to see how long it takes, and to see if there are failures. Because if there are failures, we would then start alerting. And then once you've logged in, if it took you a long time, we would identify the component in the login that was the one that's taking the long time and alert and tell them okay, here's an issue here, because instead of it taking regularly two seconds, it's now taking six seconds. So that's impacting performance, as well. And there are multiple...and then you would go and look in your account. And then you would open a certain page to do the wire transfer. And we would basically monitor all these internal processes and look at them from the IT and infrastructure standpoint, and come up and say, okay, identify where are the bottlenecks were, your database, application layer and multiple layers in the application? Right? 

 

Yoni Mazor 9:24

So you're seeing bottlenecks on the other side of the coin says, you know, because if you fix it, the whole thing becomes more efficient for these enterprises. Right?

 

Onn Manelson 9:31

Right. So it's a lot of efficiency. It's a lot of making sure that clients and transactions coming through because that's obviously what these institutions are making money from, just like you go today and you do your insurance online, you know, you can go ahead and you can file for insurance for your car insurance or home insurance. So we used to also monitor all of these. So any failures or time length or bottlenecks in those processes, cost money, and at the end of the day, they can cause losses, or they can, you know, cause frustration by clients. And those are the things that we used to monitor for these big organizations in order to highlight issues that they might have in their processes. 

 

Yoni Mazor 10:05

Nice. So yeah, this definitely helps once they become more efficient as a large enterprises, it just makes the whole notion of skill scaling and scale up economy for these organizations, so they can scale up even more become more efficient and offer more solutions at a faster pace and increase sales, increase everything, and hopefully, increase the satisfaction of the user experience for all their users. Okay, beautiful, beautiful, brilliant. So two years you did there. 2004. What's your next station after London?

 

Onn Manelson 10:32

So that's where my spouse and I decided that London was a great experience, but the weather, it wasn't really, you know, we really enjoyed it in London, there's this thing that it rains most of the year. So, you know,

 

Yoni Mazor 10:43

It's not rewarding. It's...

 

Onn Manelson 10:45

Right it's not, it's, it's a really, really great city to live in. Because there's a lot of culture and there's a lot to see. And, you know, you can travel, you get on a plane, and you're like, an hour from Paris and from major European cities. So you really, you can really enjoy it. But overall, living in London itself, you know, either you like the weather, and you're, you know, you're okay with it. And there are people that can say, hey, it's great. It's nice, I enjoy it. Coming from Israel, we're, you know, it's mostly sunny here, we love the weather, we like going out in our shorts and flip flops. And suddenly living in London, you know...

 

Yoni Mazor 11:20

Which is more corporate also, more buttoned up. And also like a boiling pot of, you know, corporate world on the European level. But nevertheless, you know, once you want to kind of at least a little bit, it's hard to just put, like flip flops go to the beach, because there aren't any, and usually, you're gonna find rain instead of sun.

 

Onn Manelson 11:37

Right. So it used to rain, used to rain a lot. So it's like, it rains, it doesn't rain, you know, like heavily. But it does rain pretty much all across, there aren't too many seasons. Even in the summer, it rains, you can get the summers where it just rains and rains and rains, and you want to go and everything is outdoor, and you want to go have fun. And whenever... the funny thing is that, you know, I just realized that when I was living there, there are so many convertibles in London. Now I was scratching my head. And I said, how's that possible? I mean, it's just the thing is that people...

 

Yoni Mazor 12:07

Convertible cars you mean right?

 

Onn Manelson 12:08

Convertible cars is that people are just waiting for the sun, the moment that there is sun, even if it's cold, they open the top, they want to open the top and they want to be and they want to be outside. Yeah, I used to go ahead and I say why are people driving? Why are there so many convertible cars here? And you know, I was told look, whenever there is a sun, we want to go ahead and we want to, you know, take advantage of it. So we go ahead and immediately we want to have the option to open the top. So you see people and sometimes it gets you know, it gets cold. And you see people driving convertible cars, and it's pretty cold, but it's not raining. So they open the top as long as it's not raining so they can, you know?

 

Yoni Mazor 12:44

This is their way of going to the beach. They don't have a beach over there and outside they catch the sun. Initially you don't see too many convertibles. If you go to the beach, it's packed with people, also in the winter. So I guess that's kind of the comparison. We can do convertible cars or beaches. You know, that's the tradeoff on the high level. Okay, very cool. So rain, you guys are out of there. What was the next station?

 

Onn Manelson 13:06

We got out of there. And that's where, you know, my previous boss offered me to join a startup company..

 

Yoni Mazor 13:12

Previous boss from which company? 

 

Onn Manelson 13:14

From Mercury. That was my previous to my relocation, basically. So I was two years in Israel in the major r&d center. And then two years in the London headquarters. So my former boss, which, you know, prior to my relocation, he was with a startup company that does search engines, artificial intelligence search engines for e-commerce.

 

Yoni Mazor 13:35

And this was around 2006?

 

Onn Manelson 13:38

That was around 2006. And that's where I was offered, I was offered a role. I went from a corporation of several 1000s of people to a startup company of eight people sitting in a house, basically, you know, kind of...it wasn't a garage, they rented out a house where everybody...Yeah, in Israel. And I remember it was such a cultural shock, going from this big corporation, where everything is laid in front of you, you know, we had kitchenettes filled with food, anything you needed. IT, everything was just, you know, so arranged and so organized to the startup where you know, you barely have a desk, you know, you don't have you have to kind of like make your own. And that's where I pretty much kind of got the bug, the startup bug and entrepreneur bug and people come in to say, once you have that bug, it's hard to go back. And I completely that's when I understood that.

 

Yoni Mazor 14:36

Were you a partner there or did you start off as kind of…? 

 

Onn Manelson14:39

No, no, I wasn't a partner. I was brought in to manage the company's professional services and build it together.

 

Yoni Mazor 14:46

So you were involved in coding at all? Or just sales, growth?

 

Onn Manelson 14:50

I was more involved in sales growth and customers. And that was my role. I remember my third day was already at a flight and we were flying out to San Francisco to do an implementation with a client in the diamond industry. So that was pretty much my third day. Very quick the company grew up, we were about 120 people, we obviously moved out of the nice house that we were at to, you know, more of a corporate location.

 

Yoni Mazor 15:20

How many years did it take for the company to grow from 8 to 120-ish?

 

Onn Manelson 15:24

It took two years.

 

Yoni Mazor 15:27

So in 2008, you're already 2009, you’re semi way to become a big corporation, right? Middle of the way. I wanna actually touch on the purpose or the mission of the company, you said e-commerce, SEO?

 

Onn Manelson 15:41

No. So it was a search engine for e-commerce, internal search engine. So imagine that you go now into a website, and you start searching for a product. So what we built is we built artificial intelligence based on natural language processing. I don't know how many people are familiar with that. But basically, we understood the shopper’s queries, and we were able to identify what they're looking for. So at the in the past, if you recall, you'd search for things in search, and it would be textual search for you said you search ‘men's pants blue’, and you'd get results that are blue results that are men's results that are pants, what we basically developed at the time, we developed a logical engine that's like human-like that used to very, very analyze, analyze the query, the shopper query, just like you have today, you know, obviously on Amazon and on sophisticated engines that come in, and are able to understand what you're looking for and serve the results that used to be served are very, very contextually in that query. So we had linguistic professors that used to understand and break down languages, whether it's in German and Spanish and French, in English. And that way, our algorithm used to be able to learn and understand the query, analyze it, and put together the most potential results that would basically that the shoppers would be looking for. And it was pretty, it was pretty new at the time. I mean, today….

 

Yoni Mazor 17:00

Yeah, today we would take it for granted. Yeah, definitely do take it for granted. But I guess only 14 or 12 years ago, this was a state of the art innovation, that actually was probably the founding and foundation blocks of what we live on now. You know, ecommerce is just you want it, it’s there, boom, you get it. A big component of that is what do you want, or this is what you want it that whole optimization, SEO, Search Engine Optimization. So it's actually it's pretty cool, you're able to have an input into the early days of that. Okay, so 2008, you grew to 120, what's, what was the next thing for you?

 

Onn Manelson 17:35

The company grew. I was head of operations. And I'm a person that, an individual that focuses on build, I like to build stuff, I like to be there during the initial stages, the establishment, that's where my strength comes into place. And that's when I decided after several years that, four years, that it's time to now move on. If I was, let's say 2009, if I'm not mistaken. Yeah. And that's when I said, Okay, it's time now to, to move to the next venture. And I joined a company called Wind Buyer. Pretty, pretty groundbreaking at the time. It did advertising in e-commerce, advertising in websites, based on price comparison. So it sounds a little, you know, the idea was that today conversion rates on e-commerce sites are anywhere between two to 3%. So out of 100 clients that come visitors that come to your site between 97 to 98 basically leave your site, they don't buy, they don't act in a purchase. And what we did is we monetized that traffic. So we took and we displayed ads of competitors in product pages. So you'd go to Home Depot, and you'd see you know, a forklift, and you'd be able to come in there and you would see okay, this is the price at Lowe's. And this is a price at Amazon and this is the price. So what we would try to do is we would try to give a certain level of confidence to the shopper because everybody did at the time, price comparison, right? Everybody goes ahead, they go ahead and buy something they like. So we wanted to save the shoppers price comparison. And we told our clients, you know, like a Home Depot. Look, people are comparing prices anyway. So why don't you give them that mirror image of your price comparison. And if they do click on Lowe's, you're going to get the price of that click right. So you're gonna get...

 

Yoni Mazor 19:28

That’s brilliant, pretty genius. You're saying listen, if eventually they're going to bounce out, you help them to bounce out, you monetize that. But if they stay in and they make the purchase, obviously, it's a win for you also. So you create some sort of a win win situation. Obviously, the bigger win for them is to get them to generate the revenue, the full revenue and the full markup. But even if they don't, the 97% that they don't, you have monetized it, I think it’s brilliant.

 

Onn Manelson 19:49

Right. But you have to think about it from a retailer and a large retailer, the fact that they put their competitor on their product pages is a serious, you know, contractradiction. So, you know, while we worked with, you know, companies like Overstock, and large players, some of them were very, very reluctant to go ahead and put logos on their competitors...

 

Yoni Mazor 20:11

Yeah the logo is the issue, the brand and brand awareness, that's only downside, I guess, or one of the probably the downside that they felt, you know, potential clients have this platform for you to market it for them. 

 

Onn Manelson 20:21

Right. And it was really, really interesting. You know, I had the opportunity to work with major, major online retailers, really heavy, heavy traffic. 

 

Yoni Mazor 20:29

And was this your company? You founded it?

 

Onn Manelson 20:30

No, no, I actually came in as head of operations under the chief executive officer there. And I was basically in charge of the entire implementation organization, customer success, customer support, professional services. The company raised quite a substantial amount of money from venture capital.

 

Yoni Mazor 20:51

Do you remember how much, roughly ballpark?

 

Onn Manelson 20:53

Several 10s of millions of dollars. And it had a very, very good model in terms of monetization, the only thing was that there was a barrier that we weren't able to break in terms of monetization, in terms of going to the major players. When you go to a large player and branding plays into part. So the smaller sites that have traffic, they're okay to monetize. And it comes in and can come into several 10s of 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of dollars a month. The only thing is that when you work with you know, with a Sears, with a Best Buy, with a Home Depot, they're not interested, you know, $100,000, or even a million dollars in monetization doesn't change their needle, if you know what I mean. It doesn't really, you know, they're, they're there to make the big money, and they're there, you know, for their transactions.

 

Yoni Mazor 21:36

Yeah, I think also beyond that, they just want to create their own ecosystems, and it's airtight, you know? I, you know, I know, at least Apple, Apple is kind of a retailer, but but you know, it's a technology company, they're really big into their ecosystem, you know, no way, you're going to see any hint of any other any other brand out there, even the the apps in the app store, they're just like hostages, you know, you have to pay 30% fee if they’re able to market their app, and you gotta get monetize by what you're saying. So it was hard to I guess, break into the big business?

 

Onn Manelson 22:08

It was hard to penetrate and break. But the interesting fact was that we used AB testing, we were able to show that actually, we're generating list on conversion, where these comparisons appear, because customers came in and shoppers came out and said, Oh, these guys are confident enough to show us their competitors, and to save us the time of going in. So you know, if it's only a couple bucks, and you know, and it's not a major deal, I'm already a Home Depot or a Best Buy, or whatever that client was, that we already do, go ahead and do that. And we're already here. And I understand the value between, you know, you know, Best Buy, obviously, they have apart from their website and doing that transaction, they obviously you know, they have the brand and their stores, so you're more confident. So if you come in and you're able to show them, look even though it's a bit cheaper on a competitor site, I'm still getting the value, and I still have the brand of Best Buy behind me. So it actually convinced them more to buy. The only thing was that, you know, it's it's, you know, having, again, that logo, so we used to come up and we used to go up to the level of the President, and he used to say, Are you nuts, you're not going to put a local competitor on my pages. And we used to test it. And we used to AB, do, you know, these AB tests and, and we used to see some really, really good results. But the cycles of getting there. And the convincing, used to take a lot of time, we used to have to really, really show proof that this generates lift, and not you know, monetization. People, as you mentioned, they're looking for lift, they're looking for improved conversions, that what people were, you know, the retailers were looking for. And yeah, so what happened was that it became harder and harder to go ahead and penetrate the larger and larger brands.

 

Yoni Mazor 23:45

So what was so what was your next move?

 

Onn Manelson 23:49

So my next move is actually founding a company, establishing a company.

 

Yoni Mazor 23:53

Funding or founding? 

 

Onn Manelson 23:55

Founding. Founding a company. So I

 

Yoni Mazor 23:57

I was gonna say, man, you’ve got some deep pockets to fund a company! 

 

Onn Manelson 23:58

No, no, no, no deep pockets at all. So I started a company in 2011. 

 

Yoni Mazor 24:05

  1. So roughly two years you were with, you know, the price comparison company. And then you said, I said this time, it's mine. You know? I’m spreading my wings.

 

Onn Manelson 24:13

I gotta be honest. So I was kind of like, considering all sorts of positions, actually spoke, was speaking to two different companies. And then I said, you know, it's getting to a point where, you know, if I'm not gonna do something now, I'm probably not going to do it.

 

Yoni Mazor 24:30

On your own? Independent? Meaning this is your baby. 

 

Onn Manelson 24:31

Independent right. You know, you know, I already had my first son, my son was born. And you come to this point where you're saying, look, either I go down that track of, you know, being somebody, you know, fairly senior at a company, or building up and establishing my own business. During my period with the company that did the whole monetization. What I got exposed to is a lot of these retailers came back and came back to us and said, Can you guys give us the information of all the competitive data. So we used to, you know, Home Depot, they saw Lowe's, Amazon other prices. They said, I don't want you to display it on my website, I want the data for myself. Why? For pricing purposes, I want to constantly monitor my competitors and know what's going on. And that's where that's it, the idea sunk. And I said, Hey, why don't we try to develop something of that sort. So.

 

Yoni Mazor 25:23

So that was a eureka moment for you, right, basically. So let's, let's give it a little spin in a different direction, saying, you'll have real time live data of the prices that you have, you know, against your competitors, and you as an organization, as a corporation, you'll be able to make the decision if you would like to match it, or beat it, you know, instantly. So at least you have that capability on a very high level, because catalogs tend to be very wide for large retailers, and a lot of moving parts and you want to, you know, give a good real time answer to that.

 

Onn Manelson 25:53

Right. So that's exactly you know, what we did is we we, we started a company in 2011. Basically, I had a Rolodex with a lot of clients and a lot of prospects that I used to speak with on a regular basis, that I knew that they were looking for this kind of information. Within two months, we put some sort of quick and dirty solution into place. And we started selling

 

Yoni Mazor 26:14

But how’d you fund the company? Through the funding?

 

Onn Manelson 26:17

Oh, so we started with investors, and we spoke to investors, we basically came to investors, to people that I knew in the industry with, you know, a presentation, a one pager with the idea, we pitched it to them, and we were able to secure about half a million dollars to start off with, and to start and to get off the ground.

 

Yoni Mazor 26:34

What was it enough for? For six months, a year, 10 years in terms of funding, just to have some context.

 

Onn Manelson 26:39

So probably, we started off, and we started off with half a million dollars, you know, thinking that it would be you know, enough for about 12 months.

 

Yoni Mazor 26:48

That was the run, right, let's give us oxygen for 12 months, so we can lift this off the ground. And hopefully we'll be independent.

 

Onn Manelson 26:54

Right. The thing is that we were able to get it off the ground pretty, fairly quick. So we raised additional funding. So we raised after that additional, about an additional million dollars, we had investors with very, very deep pockets, at the time.

 

Yoni Mazor 27:09

Was the second round for most of the same investors?

 

Onn Manelson 27:11

Right, right. The second round for the same investors. Again, usually when things are going well, your investors want to put in more money into the company, if things are evolving well, and we started off with investors that had pretty deep pockets. So they weren't angel investors that are limited, you know, to $100-200,000, we went to investors that, you know, if we needed, like $5 million, they would put this kind of money into it as well.

 

Yoni Mazor 27:35

Were there international investors, domestic Israeli investors?

 

Onn Manelson 27:38

No, they were actually international. They were Jewish investors. I mean, they were, you know, Jewish, American, and Canadian, 

 

Yoni Mazor 27:45

Were there from the high tech or venture capital realm?

 

Onn Manelson  27:49

They were old money. The interesting thing is that they were old money. And there are pros and cons to that, you know, there are pros, because if you, you know, when you work with savvy investors, then they know usually how it works out, where you know, where you're working with, you know, old money and things of that sort. So they invest in real estate and things of that sort, which are different, completely different models. So there are challenges around that. But overall, you know, we were, fairly quickly, able to sign up some major clients, we had eBay as a client, we had Best Buy as a client. And we had some really, really nice clients at the time. So things really picked up, we started hiring people, and things were looking fairly positive.

 

Yoni Mazor 28:27

And this is already 2012-2013? 

 

Onn Manelson 28:31

This is...Yeah, 2012-2013, we're going for bigger players. And, you know, the challenge that we were facing was that we were located out of Israel. And when you work with these large retailers, you need to come and meet them on a regular basis. I mean, you know, it's...

 

Yoni Mazor 28:46

You gotta nourish their relationship.

 

Onn Manelson 28:49

Yeah, you got to constantly come in, and you got to constantly talk to them, you know, you know, you can work with somebody that's your champion within an organization. And in retail, two years later, they're moved on to another organization, you got to have to be there, you have to be in, you know, in the nuts and bolts and understand what's happening. And you have to constantly be, you know, with your finger on the pulse to understand what's happening within your client, especially when these are retail enterprises. And you were not, you know, 500 monthly deals, these were deals, six figure annual deals. So, you know, we had sales people in the US, we had marketing people in the US and

 

Yoni Mazor 29:26

So they pay you in advance for a year? How does it go? You let's say you locked up a deal with eBay, just for right illustration purposes, a half a million dollars upfront for the whole year? How does that work?

 

Onn Manelson 29:37

They go either it goes quarterly, or it goes annually. Usually when it comes to you know, landing these kinds of deals, when you do deals with large enterprises, they basically want to know who the party that they're doing business with. And it's not always easy when you approach a retail enterprise or enterprise in general, not only retail and you’re startup company, because they want to know that you have run rates, that you're not going to run out of business the other day, that you're making sure that you have, you know, legal proper in place that somebody's not going to come and sue them because they used your solution. So these are things that you need to have to go and have to make and put in place. So usually, when we did renewals, we did them for you know, later down the road, we did them for annual, at the beginning, it started off monthly, and then we moved to quarterly, and from quarterly went to semi-annually, and then it went to annually depending on the strategy.

 

Yoni Mazor 30:29

Interesting. You're saying you were able to as you matured as a corporation, as an organization, buttoned up all the bolts or screws, and, you know, kind of had a track record with these organizations and said, Alright, let's take you for the whole year. So they are hesitant. Let's give you 30 days, give you 90 days. So, you know if things go wrong, you know, that's just ...

 

Onn Manelson 30:50

Yeah, you know, that sales cycles are much longer here, when you want to do a $250,000 annual deal, it doesn't close over the phone, it doesn't close over a zoom meeting, you have to meet the guys, you usually go out there, you have to fly, you have to meet them, you have to demo, probably around four to six months, in order to get a deal. You know, you really have to invest and you have...

 

Yoni Mazor 31:12

But then you get, you know, once everything kind of matured, you get 12 months of revenue income upfront for that. Yeah. Okay. Very interesting cycles, you know, enterprise level really heavy hitting, you know, which is an interesting experience. Alright, so we're a 2012-13. What happened next?

 

Onn Manelson 31:30

Yeah. So, in 2015, we went to a large retail show in New York called NRF, National Retail Federation. It's every year in January in the Javits Center in New York. And that's where I made a decision at the time that I'm going, we're gonna put a booth together for the company next to all the big guys. I mean, SAP, Oracle, you know, NCR, all the major tech players in retail, were up there, and they had boothes. And we were still, you know, very small compared to, you know, a small company. And I made a decision there that we're going to spend some money, and we're going to go up and put a booth together. And we put a booth at the top level with all the big guys. And we started getting some attention from some of the larger tech players in the retail space.

 

Yoni Mazor 32:19

Was the reason behind this kind of decision was because you mentioned earlier that it was hard for you kind of reach out to close the sales cycle, because you guys are based out of Israel, where, you know, I guess you guys are focused, heavily focused on North America. So you wanted to say, Hey, we're here for to grab the attention and at least at the show, to try to get more friction, consolidate, replace was a part of the decision,

 

Onn Manelson 32:43

You want to try to show that you're legitimate. Okay? When you know, when you're just there for meetings, and you don't have a booth, then people are saying, hey, these guys don't have a booth. You know, what, when you again, when you...

 

Yoni Mazor 32:54

You want to be in the map, the directory. You know, there's a map of all the businesses that are there.

 

Onn Manelson 32:58

Exactly, so you gotta be able to show yourself, they have to be able to see that you're legit. They have to be representative, you know, they have to see that it's not just like some sort of Joe Schmo that they're talking to.

 

Yoni Mazor 33:07

Yeah, fly by the night business. Yeah.

 

Onn Manelson 33:09

Right. Right, they have to see that there is something serious going on before they'd go out, you know, if you go to a Target or a Walmart, they're not going to deal with you just like that. They have to get some sort of sense. So and all the buyers and all the merchandising are up there, and all the pricing folks come to this event. So it's easier to also set deals and come Hey, come to our booth. Let's schedule a meeting, come to our booth. And we had these raffles at the time. We did Google Glass at the time. I don't know if you remember that was in 2014 I think it was, Google Glasses came out and it was...

 

Yoni Mazor 33:41

That’s like a $1,000 plus item. Right?

 

Onn Manelson 33:43

Right. Right. And there was this big, you know, hype around Google Glasses at the end of that we all know what happened to that. But we had a raffle...

 

Yoni Mazor 33:52

Actually we don’t. That means it went nowhere, you know?

 

Onn Manelson 33:53

Yeah. And we had all these people come into our booth to try and win, you know, a pair of google glasses. So it also gave us that attention. And following that show, that trade show, we were actually approached by a corporation out of Texas called Revionics. They were a leader in retail enterprise pricing. And we started doing the dance. We started going to dance. They said hey, you know you guys have interesting technology, interesting offering. And you know, one thing to another, they came in...

 

Yoni Mazor 34:29

This is 2014. You say you guys met with Revenex? What did you say their name?

 

Onn Manelson 34:32

Revionics. We started with them. Right. And in 2015, they acquired the company.

 

Yoni Mazor 34:41

100% outright? There was a liquidity event for everybody involved?

 

Onn Manelson 34:44

Yes, I decided that it's you know, um...

 

Yoni Mazor 34:47

Let me ask you this before you dive into that. The old money folks that invested were they happy or what was the? 

 

Onn Manelson 34:54

Yeah, I think, you know, what happened was that we reached a point that either we raise a substantial amount of money to build an operation, because think about it, you're doing sales cycles of four to six months, and you have to have people on the ground, you have to fly...

 

Yoni Mazor 35:09

You need a lot of oxygen.

 

Onn Manelson 35:13

Right, you have to have field sales, and you have to have traditional marketing, and you have to go to all these trade shows, because, you know, again, to show presence and everything, that's a lot, that's it, there's a lot of money associated in all that. And that's where we're either we go ahead and we raise, you know, 10 to 15 million, and we build this bigger operation, we start hiring and trying to, you know, build a sales, you know, organization in the US, or we join a company that you know, a leader in its space and has, you know, hundreds of people worldwide that can go ahead and really give this a push. 

 

Yoni Mazor 35:46

And it's kind of in the industry, right? It's not like it's partnering with a large organization, which is in the real estate industry, this is kind of a strategic buy for them, right? You can definitely say this is a strategic buy. They buy your company, merge it into their activities, and using the technology, the connections or the clients, they can scale it up, and take it to the next step. So, that was pretty much the reason why you danced with them. And the deal was triggered. And the old money investors were happy with the ROI, with a return investment?

 

Onn Manelson36:17

Yeah, yeah. They were happy. It was lucrative for them. And, you know, yeah, and considering again, that they weren't tech investors. So you know, that was a good journey for them. I think it was, yeah, it was four years. Four years isn't a long, four years is not a long period.

 

Yoni Mazor 36:33

Yeah for technology, it’s like ages, but for their, I guess, for real estate, it's enough for them to come in at a minimum of 5-10-15-20 years cycle.

 

Onn Manelson 36:39

Yeah, but they don't, they don't usually do, you know, quadruple on their money, on their investments, you know, even you know, if you look at real estate and things of that sort. So you can make 10% 15% 20% year over year, but you're not going to make Yeah, but you're not going to make you know, four times and things of that sort. You don't have that ability to go ahead and you know, make major upside.

 

Yoni Mazor 36:59

Got an interesting anecdote with old money investors. Oh, you're a nice time with that. Okay, cool. So you guys merged with a Revionics? And take us through that journey? This is 2015?

 

Onn Manelson 37:11

  1. Yeah. And, and...Alright, you know, so first of all, there's a big hype, you get acquired, and wow, it's fantastic. And suddenly you have this big organization with, you know, unlimited resources and sales folks all over the world. 

 

Yoni Mazor 37:25

You’re back into Mercury, but this time from the front door, front gate, right? You know, you're you're a leader of your own army, you come in as a general you know, it's pretty interesting a cycle where you start from Mercury, a big large organization, 1000s of people on an Israeli base. Then you kind of come back to kind of the same seed, but after leading your own army in the fields and getting it safely to a home a new home, which you can take it the next step. Interesting. 

 

Onn Manelson 37:49

Right, yeah. So it was fun. So you know, at the beginning, you go out and you go, and suddenly they open doors to major clients, and you have these projects. And it's cool. And, you know, there's a big hype, and it's exciting. As you go along...

 

Yoni Mazor 38:04

Wait, hold on. So you didn't cash out? You stayed around? Did you have any stipulations in the buyout saying that you guys would ….?

 

Onn Manelson 38:11

No, we, obviously we did, you know, we did have a cash out, they basically everybody, and as the founders, we were, we were, we were committed to remaining in the company. So, we stayed in the company, actually stayed there for three years. Post the acquisition. And, and, you know, and during those three years, so, you know, you have ups and downs, and you're part of this now, from moving from being a startup, a lean startup that you go ahead, and, you know, you build quickly, and you move quickly, you're now again, part of this corporation, and it's not, you know, you don't move that fast now, and you have to, you know, have these processes and bureaucracies and things of that sort.

 

Yoni Mazor 38:46

SOPs for everything right? Yeah.

 

Onn Manelson 38:49

So you got to go ahead and...

 

Yoni Mazor 38:50

And you guys stayed in Israel, the unit?

 

Onn Manelson 38:52

Yeah, the unit stayed. That was part of the terms, those were part of the terms, we put that as a condition, we said, you know, the only reason you know we're gonna move forward with it is you know, the office has to stay and, and, you know. So the division…

 

Yoni Mazor 39:05

What was that important to you?

 

Onn Manelson 39:07

Because I wasn't planning to relocate. I wasn't planning to relocate. And I said to myself... 

 

Yoni Mazor 39:13

How big was your team in Israel?

 

Onn Manelson 39:15

So we had 20 plus people.

 

Yoni Mazor 39:18

And they all remained or? Are there any...did it actually grow the unit?

 

Onn Manelson 39:22

Oh, no, they grew they grew as a unit and yeah, we expanded and we started in obviously, you know, we had suddenly people related that are working overseas in the US and other places obviously outside of Israel that were related to our solution. And I stayed there for three years till 2018. And then you know, pretty much realized that I'm not going to retire now. 

 

Yoni Mazor 39:45

The bug. We talked about the bug, the entrepreneur bug.

 

OM 39:46

Exactly. The bug.

 

Yoni Mazor 39:48

It’s running in your nose and your veins. 

 

Onn Manelson 39:50

You feel it in your fingertips, you know, kind of like, you know, twinkling kind of like feeling sense because, right, a burn and that's when we started my, you know, partner in crime, my co-founder, we started learning...

 

Yoni Mazor 40:05

Your partner in success. No crimes, you know?

 

Onn Manelson 40:06

Right. So we said, hey, let's you know, let's see what can we do next? And that's when we started and we started looking at, okay, what are the opportunities out there? What can we do? We start looking at all sorts of arbitrage modeling, Amazon, Walmart, Marketplace, things of that sort. And we started speaking to a lot of sellers, Amazon sellers, eBay sellers. And it became repeatedly, you know, told to us that, look, there is now this new Amazon advertising thing that's coming out, that's really, really picking up. And, you know, we feel that there's no good solution out there. And there's no really good approach. And there's a lot of sellers are struggling around that. Maybe that's a thing that you guys can look into and be constantly heard about that. On a repeated basis, we started looking into that we were not sellers, we weren't, you know, we're not sellers on Amazon. So it's not like, hey, we've been sellers for four or five years, 10 years in here, we developed a solution. We come from a data and product background. So we know how to build product. And we know how to use data for that. And we thought, can we with our skill set, develop something that's going to be relevant in this space? Again, we went ahead and we started off and we put a presentation together, and we met some investors. And they said, Hey, you know what, this is interesting. So they decided to invest in a company. And we started building a solution for advertising.

 

Yoni Mazor 41:31

Again, it was just domestic money or international money?

 

Onn Manelson 41:34

So actually, it was corporate money. We took money from a large corporation that pretty much wanted to invest in the previous venture. So we had a very, very good communication, open communication with them when we came up with a new idea... Yeah, it was in the Rolodex, we came up to them. And they said, Hey, you know what? That's interesting, and we'd be happy to kind of like, look into something...

 

Yoni Mazor 41:53

So this is an Israeli corporation or American?

 

Onn Manelson 41:56

It's no, it's a US, it's a large US corporation, you might have heard about them. They're called AC Nielsen. They're ...

 

Yoni Mazor 42:03

The rating company?

 

Onn Manelson 42:04

Yup. The rating company. They rate advertisements. 

 

Yoni Mazor 42:07

And this is institutional money, almost you can say?

 

Onn Manelso 42:09

Yeah, but they have, they have an investment arm. So they have an Innovation Fund, basically, that they invest in areas related to advertising and retail. And part of that, so through that investment arm, basically, they made an investment in the new venture, in RevenueWize.

 

Yoni Mazor 42:27

So they were the only investor or you guys have pulled in a group of investors?

 

Onn Manelso42:30

No, they're the only investor.

 

Yoni Mazor 42:33

And once again, the run was for a year, what was the was the run rate?

 

Onn Manelso 42:37

The run rate was for 18 months? Approximately 18 months. Yeah. And, yeah, we started off and the funny thing is that we started off and we put together a solution within five to six months, we put together a beautiful platform. And we said, okay, let's start testing in the market. So we started going to large Amazon sellers, sellers that are doing 3-4-5 million dollars annually. And we started telling them, Hey, guys, you know, here's a solution, we'd like to hear your thoughts about it. And you know, they started using it. And they came, they all came back to us and said, hey, it's really, really great. And it's an amazing solution. But it's too complicated. Too robust, too complicated. Now, that's where we thought we then realized, we have now shifted from a market because when we used to work with enterprise, when you work with these large players like a Target, like a Walgreens, like a Best Buy, they need...you work with departments that have 20, analysts, sometimes even more, that they take your data in the process of tend to looking at graphs, and they're looking at analysis, and they constantly have processing and they make these decisions. While on Amazon...

 

Yoni Mazor 43:49

You know, once you do with the bigger corporations or organizations, they do heavy duty data analysts and you know, they go granular, like crazy, they can take the life out of the whole thing like crazy until, you know, they pound it to death until it's confirmed dead, you know, seven times and again, right. But this wasn't the mindset of the Amazon seller.

 

Onn Manelso 44:09

This wasn’t the Amazon seller, right. They wanted the bottom line, what do I need to do?

 

Yoni Mazor 44:12

You opened the mind of the Amazon seller? What you find?

 

Onn Manelso 44:15

Wow, listen, I mean, every Amazon seller is an intrapreneur. Obviously, you know, they have their business, they're an intrapreneur. And, you know, they're doing some amazing work out there. And I was, you know, I always think to myself, you know, the amount of work and resources that you need to pull in with all the things that are happening in Amazon, the fact that I've seen cases where, you know, very, very successful listings got suspended suddenly, and I mean, the amount of difficulties that you have to go through as an Amazon seller, it's just crazy. I mean, you know, it was really, really surprising. I wasn't aware of all of that. And we came in and after getting to that point where we put together a complicated solution, we said, we went back to the drawing board, and we said, Look, we're not you know, we're really we're far from you know, what the market wants and we said, we You need to do something on the opposite side, we need to do something simple, simplify, simplify, simplify. At the end of the day, what we've learned is that Amazon sellers are very, very busy. They don't have time. Okay, they have a very major lack of time.

 

Yoni Mazor 45:15

This is the point where I say, usually to myself, or when I work my team, that's the moment we got to kiss it. What does that mean? Keep it stupid, simple. Simple, right? Turnkey, super simple, they have so much on their mind. You want to give them a good product that they happy with? mega do its magic and its charm, hands off as much as possible, obviously, then you're gonna need some input, some data, some SKU information, pricing, whatever, you know, thresholds. But then, you know, let it work the magic. So was that the case for you guys?

 

Onn Manelso 45:43

Yeah. So we went back to the drawing board. And then we said, All right, you know, what, how do we take this robust, complex platform? And we simplify it? Okay, who do we want to go ahead and you know, who are the personas. So we said, lack of time, we said, Amazon sellers, usually they don't understand advertising, they just don't understand. Imagine you're an e-commerce store owner, you don't do your own advertising. If you need to do Google and Facebook, you usually outsource it to somebody, but Amazon sellers, they don't have that, you know, that ability to go ahead and outsource. The majority 99.5% of sellers, they need to either use a tool and do it or use spreadsheets or whatever Amazon provides. All right, they can outsource it to an agency that charges, you know, 1000s of dollars for management fees, they need to do it. And that's when we changed our whole model, we said we're gonna simplify things, we really, really need to simplify. So we've taken the process, and we broke it down into the different stages. And we simplify the Amazon advertising process, to a point where we like to call it Amazon advertising for dummies to a certain extent, okay? You don't have to really be an expert, you don't really have to know, we put together a methodology with a solution to support it. And you basically can start within your first hour of using the solution, you can start seeing ROI, very, very, very, very, very simple. Okay? No complexities. We use, obviously, what we call artificial intelligence algorithms in the back that provide recommendations and tell you, kind of like guide you what to do. But at the end of the day, if you think about it, advertising doesn't have to be complex, you don't need to have to go to an agency, because most of the sellers, and I'm not talking about those that have you know, hundreds or 1000s of aces, but most of the sellers have, you know, up to 1020 aces, so you can manage it on your own by spending 30 minutes a week. And you can get two really, really, really good results, if you have a solution that supports your decisions, okay? And it's affordable, it's cost effective, basically, as well, right? Because we see our sellers that are seeing great results, and they get instantaneous the ROI just by using the solution. And at the end of the day, we're aiming towards, you know, the small/medium sellers, those that are doing up to $2 million, those that are doing above that usually go to agencies. So we're not competing with an agency, we want to go to the seller that wants to grow their business, you know, they're doing...

 

Yoni Mazor 48:01

You want to help them get to the position where they can open up for an agency. All right, let me and the agencies aren't over there. Let me help you into that transition.

 

Onn Manelso 48:08

So we take you during that journey, in becoming a seven figure seller, we're going to be part of that journey. And we're going to help you grow and scale into that segment. And that's pretty much what what our solution is about.

 

Yoni Mazor 48:20

Got a very good, very, very cool. Alright, so this is where you are today. Today, we're 2020 COVID year, world is going crazy, you’re in Israel, and your business is booming. Amazon ecommerce is booming. So at this point, I think we're all on the right side of the map or the right side of the industry that you know, we're not at the physical stores shutting down, because of all the quarantining and all the confinements, which is good, this is great news. Alright, so this kind of, you know, gives us the body of the episode and everything that, you know, happened to you since, uh, since uh...

 

Onn Manelso 48:51

Yeah, I mean, I feel like I have here now this whole, you know, my whole life went just in front of me.

 

Yoni Mazor 48:56

You went through the Freud moment, we threw you on the couch, you just spit it out. Thank you, thank you for that. It has been tremendously interesting and awesome to discover. So, you know, we have to come to a close. So I want you to, to give us two more things. First thing is, you know, if somebody wants to reach out to you and learn more and contact, you give them a handoff. And the second thing will be, you know, what's your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?

 

Onn Manelso 49:22

Yeah, so I'll start off, you know, by what my message is. My messages and actually have it tattooed to my arm. I don't know if it's gonna be seen here. Okay, but it says, “believe in the impossible”. Okay? This is something that I've learned over the years, no matter what, and you get hit, and you know, and there are challenges that we have in life, believe in the impossible. If you believe in it, it will happen. Okay, there's a strong, strong element and it's a state of mind if you believe things are gonna happen. And if you have a certain mindset, go ahead. And that's first of all, to all the business owners, all the Amazon sellers and everybody out there that are considering doing, whether it's a venture or starting a business, if you believe in yourself, we have the key, you have that capability, everybody has that capability inside them. Okay? If you believe it, it will be able to come out in terms of contacting us, I mean, you know, sellers that are looking to turn their advertising profitable, make things lucrative for them grow and scale their business and operations are happy to, you know, go ahead and, and contact us you can see here on the

 

Yoni Mazor 50:27

The other side, yeah,

 

Onn Manelso 50:28

On this side, RevenueWize, just come to revenuewize.com. Come visit us, you know, we can jump on a demo, you know, we'll walk you through the solution, you're gonna see how simple and easy it is. And you're going to be able to see that within, you know, the first hour or so of using the solution, you immediately going to start getting ROI and be, you know, successful. So, you know, with that said, I really, really appreciate you know, you hosting me here Yoni, you know, it's been a really, really nice experience. Great talking, you know, I love to talk so it's been great, you know, talking about little bit my history, and I look forward to future discussions of ours and yeah.

 

Yoni Mazor 51:05

Yeah, awesome. Thank you so much for that. So definitely guys, you know, Onn is a true believer. He did some wonderful things in his, you know, professional and business career. You know, hopefully you guys learned a few things. You can relate to the energy and inspiration that he has laid out for us. You know, Onn thank you so much for coming. I wish you continued success in this project and hopefully with other bugs that you'll get along the way with entrepreneurship. We wish you much success, much health and happiness to everybody. Stay safe, stay healthy. The next time.

 

Onn Manelso 51:36

All right. Take care. Bye bye.

 

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