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Tomer Tagrin is the co-founder and CEO of Yotpo, a platform of comprehensive tools for collecting & leveraging user-generated content like customer reviews, photos, and more, and serving 200,000 businesses

Yotpo is built on the vision that the future of marketing isn't businesses talking about themselves, but people talking about businesses.

Tomer founded Yotpo with his best friend and CTO, Omri Cohen in 2011 and has lead the company in raising $50m in funding, growing to 200+ employees and opening 2 offices in Tel Aviv and New York City.

In the rare moments when he's not geeking out over data or eating oranges in the middle of meetings, he's with his ferocious guard dog, Vamos, and his beautiful wife, Adi.

You can follow him on Twitter: @ttagrin

He will be live on Feb 14 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer,

    Congrats on the success with Yotpo and thanks for making the time for this AMA with us! $50M is an impressive amount of funds to have raised. I'm curious about how you guys decided there was an opportunity to launch a successful B2B startup around tools for UGC and how you got your early traction in the market. Thanks!

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Hi Sean -- thanks for the great question, and I'm happy to be here!

      There was definitely never a moment where we were like “We want to build a B2B startup around UGC tools.” In all honesty, it started around the consumer experience -- I made a stupid purchasing decision based on fake reviews I read online. And we wanted to fix that.

      The further me and my co-founder Omri went into the problem, the more we saw the opportunity to create tools that would help online marketers via UGC.

      As far as early traction, Omri and I are engineers and so were the first 8 people we hired. We didn’t know what marketing was, so we tackled distribution as an engineering problem. Our instinct was “Let’s develop an integration” so we went to Shopify, Magento, other eCommerce platforms and just built great integrations with them.

      So we got that early traction and organic growth through tech.

      4 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer,

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom. :)

    Congrats on growing your business to over 200 employees. I'm curious of your take on culture and the role it plays in growth. Do you mind elaborating on the different stages of your company and how culture has evolved over the years?

    Looking forward to reading what you have to say.

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Culture is probably one of the most important things when it comes to growing a company and I spend a ton of time thinking about it.

      A company goes through stages with culture.

      In the beginning, the company is just the founders and a few employees, culture is all about being similar. Because you are doing everything all together -- from working to eating -- everyone knows everything that’s going on. In that stage, the people who succeed are the ones are the ones who are most similar to the founders. At that stage, we didn’t call it culture but it was.

      The next stage is when you get to like 30-40 people. That was the first time someone said to me “Oh, I didn’t know about that” about something that happened within the company. Then you need to start thinking about communication, alignment, do we need to define a culture or not?

      The next stage is when you get to 100 people. It was a big hit to me when I realized I could no longer interview every candidate because, up until that point, that was one way I knew I could preserve culture. So we needed to start training people on how to interview for a culture fit. We needed to start working much harder on communication and alignment -- making sure everyone know what we were doing and why we were doing it.

      At Yotpo, that’s also the stage where we opened our second office in NYC. Not only was it on another continent, but it had it’s own culture because at the time it was mostly salespeople. So we had to think about how those offices could be different but also maintain some things that were culturally important to the company as a whole. To a degree, the offices each have their own culture -- for example, in the NYC office there is always music playing which wouldn’t fly in Tel Aviv -- but we’ve managed to build teams in both places of people that fit our culture and share our values.

      Now that we are looking at growing to 500 people, we need to think about how to spread and maintain culture again. At this stage it’s all about the leaders, these are the people who are really going to keep the culture going. We need to get leaders on board for culture, we need to actually write down what our culture is, promotions need to be aligned with culture, every manager needs to lead in a way that reflects our culture.

      When we reach 1000 employees, it will change again and we will need to learn how to adapt.

      Culture is important from day 1 and it varies fast with the size of the company and the its challenges. It’s not something you define and it’s good for 50 years -- you need to preserve values but culture is evolving.

      3 Share
  • SK

    S Kodial

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer,

    Do you have a "one metric that matters" for Yotpo?
    If yes, what is it?
    Also, can you talk about to any recent experiment(s) that impacted this number in a meaningful way?

    Thx!

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      There is definitely not “One metric to win them all” because so many different things are extremely important: New ARR, employee churn, CAC Payback, Efficiency Score etc.

      But, if you’re going to back me into a corner I could have to say Customer Churn would be the one metric would choose.

      It wasn’t really an experiment but around 2 years ago we created a Retention team whose whole purpose is keeping Churn down.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    3 months ago #

    Bonjour Tomer,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    1) Trust impacts growth metrics in many ways, could you give us a feel in terms of quantitative ranges of impact on some core metrics like CTR, CR or even revenue?

    2) In the future what will be the new ways for brands to build trust?

    3) Can you elaborate on empowering brands to become human, what should brands do become part of their target market?

    4) Do you think AI will help humanize brands in 3 years from today?

    Thanks.

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Great questions!

      1) We actually just released the first part of our Data Labs project which answers all your questions (and the questions that lots of people have) about how trust and UGC can actually impact metrics like CVR and revenue.

      The basic gist is this: The conversion rate of shoppers who look at UGC is *signficantly* higher than those who don’t (varies by industry but in Fashion for example, you see 215% uplift in CVR for people who interacted with UGC). Ads with UGC see 4x more clicks than those that don’t have it (check out the case study that Facebook did on our ads tool).

      I could go on for days, but you should check out the link above for all the data and details : )

      3 Share
    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      2) Not sure of the exact ways that brands will need to build trust in the future but I do know this: trust is the starting point of every consumer shopping experience and you need to show that transparency and customer care.

      No matter what the medium for building trust is, we know that the importance of it will never change.

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      3) First, people like to buy from people -- that comes from the good old days before the internet, and it’s hard to replicate online. That’s why you need to put that authentic human voice of the customer, human recommendation and advice at the forefront of the buying experience, real people that have experienced that brand and product.

      Also, you need to be where your customers are. If they’re on Snapchat, you have to own it. If they’re at Metallica concerts, you need to find a way to make that work for you.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer, thanks for being on the AMA. I read where you are a big proponent of building a great company culture and ensuring employees feel like they are part of something great. Can you elaborate on how you established this culture at Yotpo and any recommendations you would give to others looking to build such a place? Thanks!

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Hi Glen -- thanks for your question!

      First, establishing culture is all about the people you hire. You need to be super, super thoughtful about who you hire from a character standpoint (not just a professional standpoint).

      Culture is also how you answer this question: “How do you solve problems?”

      Do you go argue loudly in a room? Do you let people figure out things for themselves? Do you wait to get to a full consensus? Do you let people make mistakes?

      Culture is about establishing a shared way to solve problems.

      (Also, please check out my answer to Dani’s question about culture!)

  • JD

    James Dunn

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer

    What are the biggest lessons about fundraising that you've learned so far?
    What do you wish you knew before you were involved in any of the rounds you've raised?

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Biggest lessons I learned about fundraising so far:

      1) Fundraising is all about how you tell a story. It needs to be an emotional experience for both the entrepreneur and the investor -- you need to get investors excited, get them to be believers. It’s not just about dry numbers but really creating an emotional energy in the room.

      2) You need to build long-term relationships with investors. And that doesn’t mean just getting in touch when you need something along the way. You have to keep people updated, ask for their advice, keep in touch. For example, we knew Bessemer Venture Partners for 3 years before they invested in Yotpo.

      3) Know your machine! I know I said it’s not *just* about numbers, but you still need to know all your numbers and metrics cold, know where the bottlenecks in your machine are, give a data-driven presentation

      3 Share
      • TT

        Tomer Tagrin

        3 months ago #

        What I wish I knew:

        Whoever introduces you to an investor is extremely important for two reasons.

        1) If the investor cares about who made the introduction, they’re gonna care about you

        2) You need to create a competitive situation around fundraising.
        I can’t go into the room and say “Investor X offered me this” but the person who made the intro can make a call like “Hey if you’re gonna make an offer you should do it soon because they are gonna close with X soon.”

        One of the hardest things about a round is creating urgency, because it’s easy for an investor to tell you “Come back when you have this number of users” and if you have a mutual party between you and the investors, they can help with that.

        2 Share
  • JP

    John Phamvan

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer

    How did you go about getting your first 100 customers?
    What "things that don't scale" did you have to do to get them?

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      The answer to this is actually a combo of something super-scalable and some “things that don’t scale” stuff.

      The scalable part was our integration with Shopify that could, at the time, support something like 5,000 stores.

      The unscalable part was the community work I did to get that integration out there. It was when Shopify was still pretty new and I basically sat on Twitter and just responded to any and every tweet about Shopify like “Hey, have you checked out our new plugin?”

      The other thing we did at that time was build an incredible Support team. We knew having amazing customer service would be something that really made us stand out, so we did everything we could to be amazing in that space.

      We used to offer phone support to free users which was actually just me answering my cell phone at home, too scared to say my name because I was worried someone would figure out that the CEO and the Head of Support were the same guy.

      2 Share
  • MD

    Mitaka Di

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

    I was wondering what's your opinion on running a business on established platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Udemy) vs driving traffic to one's own site. The latter is a lot more difficult and conversion is also lower, but you own the audience. For example, it seems easier to sell product(s) (like shoes) on Amazon, rather than on a personal website. At what point do you think one should transition from the platform to the self-hosted site? Thanks!

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Hi Mitaka,

      Thanks for the question!

      I think long-term you need to have both -- a presence on an established platform and your own site -- not necessarily transition off one to the other.

      And you are going to have to use both to build a relationship with your customers because that will be your biggest asset.

      You need to sell on Amazon, but you can’t be completely reliant on them because they could make one change that messes up your entire business.

      But you need to nurture the relationship you have with customers there to bring those shoppers to your website.

      4 Share
  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    3 months ago #

    What has/have been the most successful acquisition channel(s) for you so far? Do you foresee that channel continuing to work just as well moving forward, or are you already seeing signs that you may have to rely on a different channel (or a mix of channels)?

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      The biggest channels for us in the beginning were having great integrations with every eComm platform. And we are sticking with that -- we will continue to build when we see an opportunity for an integration that can be valuable for our users and get Yotpo in front of more audiences.

      Today, what we call Inbound (which, for us is a mix of a lot of initiatives including SEO, Content, Co-marketing and more) is our biggest channel. Moving forward, we basically need to do a lot of things really well.

      3 Share
  • SC

    Steve Clark

    3 months ago #

    Morning,

    First - thanks for taking the time to do an AMA.

    Question - With the incessant funnel of online information - what is the one thing that allows Yotpo to differentiate itself from the noise?

    Steve

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Product-wise it's Intent + a great product.

      We have a product that, for a certain type of customer, there is really high intent. If you’re an eCommerce marketer, you absolutely *need* a user-generated content solution to generate and distribute customer reviews, photos, Q&A etc

      When you combine that with a simple, easy-to-use, ROI-positive product, that’s what really makes us float above the noise.

      On the marketing side of stuff, we are just do out best to be really good at a lot of things -- whether that’s PPC, SEO, Content, Design, Growth etc -- we’re just committed to excellence and that makes us stand out.

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    3 months ago #

    What is the biggest difference in the startup ecoysystems in the US and Israel that you've encountered? What do you think are the unique advantages and disadvantages of each?

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      In the US ecosystem, you are closer to the market and that gives you a lot of advantages -- you understand the market better, you can adapt more easily -- but the biggest one is hiring.

      Because we are actually in the US and have a network there, we are able to hire a lot of amazing people for our teams there.

      The advantage of being in Israel is that there is less competition for great engineering and product people (and we have the best in the business).

      It’s harder to build a marketing team in Israel because there are like next to 0 B2B SaaS Directors of Content here so we have relied on a lot of young, passionate first-timers and it has yielded incredible results.

      2 Share
  • EE

    Eden-Zeev Einav

    3 months ago #

    Hey Tomer, what does Yotpo look for when hiring someone for the sales team?

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Our VP sales and Head of Talent Acquistion in the US have done the most amazing job with this, so I’m glad I got this question.

      First of all salespeople need to have the same values and culture that we expect from the rest of the company: creative, smart, passionate, committed (and more)

      Next, they need to be learners, a good deal of our Account Execs actually don't have sales experience so they need to be super-smart, coachable.

      Finally, having eComm or marketing experience is a huge asset because they are selling to eCommerce people and marketers, so that background really helps.

  • MD

    matthew doong

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer!

    Congratulations to you & Omri for your recent success. Excited to see what's in store for 2017 and on!

    You have a top-tier product (according to Lifehack - better than one of your biggest competitors, Trustpilot) in an economy where digitization has led to the evolution of consumer buying decisions. As the market continues to validate a need for your product, Yotpo continues to hire into your local NYC sales team.

    With this said & referencing Tom's recent Forbes My Say blog post, "How To Go From $0 To $12 Million By Smart Hiring", are there any concerns around Sally & Tom's 'The February Fifteen' campaign strategy? In addition, if there are any poor hire(s), how will this impact Yotpo's talent acquisition strategies as you continue rapid scale?

    Thank you in advance for your time!

    Matthew Doong

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Hi Matthew, thanks for your question and the kind things you said!

      The February Fifteen hiring campaign strategy is an awesome initiative from Sally and Tom to get more creative with hiring.

      Like any company in a high-growth stage, we will make hiring mistakes but what's more important is that we will do everything to ensure that the best people stay with the company and grow with Yotpo.

      We'll learn from any mistakes we make and definitely continue to experiment with creative recruitment strategies.

      • MD

        matthew doong

        3 months ago #

        Thank you for the feedback, Tomer!

        Couldn't agree more with the creative hiring strategies. I've had the pleasure of getting to know Sally and she's nothing short of incredible :)

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer. Thank you for doing this. Do you have a dedicated growth team at Yotpo? If yes, how is that structured within your organization? If not, why not?

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Hi Mark Anthony -- thanks for your question!

      We have growth people on almost every team in the company -- Product, Marketing, Sales, Client Services.

      In every case, these are the people who have the most in-depth understanding of the data. They are constantly looking for big wins that have a minimal investment whether that's product hooking points, new sources for outbound leads, optimizing current marketing channels etc.

  • JM

    Jason Meresman

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer - thanks for doing today's AMA!

    How important is Yotpo's 'Free Forever' plan for customer acquisition? Did you always offer a free plan or was it launched as a result of an experiment?

    Thanks!

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Thanks for the great question, Jason!

      We have always had and will continue to have a free plan.

      We love to grow with customers. The best thing is when they come to us when they are relatively new and need a small and simple solution and then as they grow, we’re able to provide them with the more sophisticated stuff they need.

      What’s most important for us for clients on all plans is helping them ignite their business in any way we can.

      2 Share
  • AA

    Alyssa Ackerman

    3 months ago #

    Hey Tomer, sorry for the last minute question!

    I work at a tech startup that has roots (and an office) in Tel Aviv. I wondered what lead your decision to open an office there. It would be great to hear more about the tech and startup scene in Tel Aviv and how it compares and differs from SF, NYC, and other major hubs. Thanks, Alyssa

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Hi Alyssa, thanks for the question even if it's late : )

      Me and my co-founder Omri are Israeli, so we just organically started Yotpo here.

      I answered a question a bit further up about the differences between the US and Israeli scene -- I think the biggest difference is in hiring.

  • IB

    Ioana Budai

    3 months ago #

    hy there, many thanks for taking te time to answer! :)))

    To you, what would be the top struggles in the product development process? How do you best approach alignment across all departments within a company (I'm thinking especially of marketing teams)?

  • VS

    Veronika Sedláčková

    3 months ago #

    Would you be willing to share the split of the 200,000 businesses you currently serve that are paying customers vs not?
    Also, what strategies have been most successful towards making free users into paying customers?

    • TT

      Tomer Tagrin

      3 months ago #

      Hi Veronika,

      We have on the high end of a few thousand paying customers.

      As far as the free > paid funnel, a lot of our customers actually start as paying, so that's not really the only thing we're looking at with those free users.

      But some of the things that help bring people from the free to paid product are: giving them a product that shows them immediate value, understanding their business needs, educating them and offering them additional solutions as they need them.

  • DU

    DHANUSH UDUPA

    3 months ago #

    Hi Tomer,
    Most of the products that I am selling are just under $3.
    I sell mobile tempered glass and also install the same at my customer's place. I also sell cases.
    How would you market such products?

    Thanks

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