Meet The Disruptors: Ido Wiesenberg Of Voyantis On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
It’s meaningless to spend time, money, and resources towards building a product that only sounds good in theory, but might not actually be used in practice. As such, it is important to have close ties with the market early on, to understand what is really needed, which has yet to uniquely exist.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ido Wiesenberg.
Ido Wiesenberg is a husband, father to three, and the CEO and co-founder of Voyantis, a predictive growth OS that enables growth and marketing teams to acquire and retain high-value users for greater long-term profitability.
Before Voyantis, Ido co-founded Tvinci, an OTT TV solution that was acquired by Kaltura in 2014. He was later selected by Forbes as one of the most promising entrepreneurs in Israel.
Ido has over 20 years of experience in building sales, growth and marketing teams, and a proven record of helping novice entrepreneurs set up their ventures through his mentorship with the Techstars accelerator program.
Ido enjoys playing a direct hand in helping entrepreneurs succeed through wisdom he gained along his own entrepreneurial journey, and by exposing them to innovations that will help support business goals. He is also a transformative speaker that presents actionable insights on these topics, in addition to ways to elevate user acquisition and growth.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
My foundation is the fact that I came from a very creative family — with a musician father and brother, and a choreographer mother. As such, it was always clear to me that I will also be a part of creating something. By extension, since business elements interested me from a young age, I channeled my creativity into building different businesses from a very young age.
I got my start in the advertising industry about 20 years ago, as an Adobe flash master. I worked with top leading brands in Israel, including top ad agencies just as they were starting to go digital. Soon after that, I started my first company, Frido, which was a boutique digital marketing company. That led to my start in video and websites, which led to me co-founding Tvinci, an OTT TV solution that was acquired by Kaltura in 2014. In 2020, I co-founded Voyantis with Eran Friendinger, and the rest is history.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I am a big believer that the whole growth marketing industry will experience a shift from acting in a retrospective manner, to taking a futurespective approach. These days, it has become clear that the way decisions are made on a daily basis should be changed into a more scientific way using machine learning. As such, in a few years, predictive growth will be standard. This is an essential part they are making decisions and acting on data, and it will be a strong part of the workflow. I am pleased with my role in this change, through Voyantis’ predictive growth platform.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Back in the Tvinci-days, I had a successful meeting with an investor who agreed to invest $250,000. I was happy with the amount, and sure that I wouldn’t need another dollar — so I communicated that to all the other investors. I was certain that $250K was enough for Tvinci to be profitable.
Three months after that, after realizing I had spoken too soon and said too much, I returned to the same investors, and luckily they were nice enough to invest. Tvinci made major strides since then, and those investors continue to be my investors today in Voyantis.
That experience taught me to always keep some form of dialogue going, and not make major decisions in haste.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
On the HR side, I work for Dan Valach, who helped me build an organization with the right foundations, in addition to building for scalability. He also helped me implement the right work processes, employee empowerment, and to build values.
On the business side, Roi Rubin and Roi Erez help look at the big picture, and challenge me and assist in scaling from the business side, while always looking a few steps ahead.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
We’re building a new category, which has its own positive, and less-positive elements.
While we understand that there is a strong demand for our solution, people are still not searching for it. Most potential customers are not aware of such a solution and our primary focus is how to educate the market first and then how to build trust in our solution.
There is a strong intent but it is still hidden, and our work by building this new category exposes this intent and explains, in simple words, why companies need to switch to the LTV-based approach.
Market education is a very challenging process, but on the other hand, it is also very rewarding when you succeed because it makes it easy to become a market leader.
So the reward is very big but you need patience.
Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- It’s meaningless to spend time, money, and resources towards building a product that only sounds good in theory, but might not actually be used in practice. As such, it is important to have close ties with the market early on, to understand what is really needed, which has yet to uniquely exist.
- From the beginning we worked alongside customers and learned of their needs. We ultimately based our roadmap on real demand from the market, and shaped it based on actual feedback from live customers from the early days.
- Every area of focus needs to be done with scale in mind. In our case, we saw that it was really important to focus from the beginning on a certain type of customers, with an understanding of how the same product will suit an expanded range of customers in the future. This is why, from the start, I stressed to build a product that would fit a large enough market.
- It is also important to build an internal knowledge center from scratch, to distribute knowledge between team members. It was one of the problems I faced in my previous company, when we had over 500 employees, and new team members were coming on board. At Voyantis, we decided to build a knowledge base from day one, to educate each employee well in advance, as part of an onboarding process, to become an expert within a few weeks. We continuously enhance this process, with the understanding that this is another way to ultimately achieve scalability.
- Our HR team was structured from the ground up to think about the employees from the beginning, while building a personal development program for each team member, in addition to a feedback loop, and instilling values — all of which extends to the management team as well.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
The current economic situation has made things interesting in the growth marketing front, and it will only get more interesting in the next year. I truly hope that an increasing number of companies will realize that the shift towards profitability, instead of the mindset of growth-at-any-cost, is becoming crucial. I realize that this means the market would need to be more educated towards this topic, and the need to act on unit economics. Decisions need to be made by growth teams based on long term view, not short term proxies.
With all this in mind, I hope to achieve massive growth by helping more companies predict and act upon data. Of course, I would also want to keep them beyond satisfied, because of the value we provide to our customers.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
There are many books by Shimon Peres that have impacted my thinking. One that particularly stands out is, No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel, for reasons that don’t even have anything to do with politics. This book beautifully teaches about innovative thinking, optimism, going against the odds, taking on a long-term view, and having faith in your goal.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Always look at the bright side of life. As an entrepreneur there are many reasons to be pessimistic. Every day is a whole new roller coaster, and there are many pessimistic people along the way that would try to bring you down. You must always remember to stay optimistic, with faith in your endeavor, and don’t give up — even on the most difficult days along the way.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As a member of the high-tech industry, it is important to help bridge gaps in the industry and workforce. We must bring in more under-represented people, including minorities, and people aged 50+ who have dropped out of the workforce, etc. The ability to help, teach, and lift people up as a whole is a win-win for everyone.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Meet The Disruptors: Ido Wiesenberg Of Voyantis On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.