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Ariel Assaraf of Coralogix: “Fundraising, Hiring, Management”

You can make a few small/medium mistakes and avoid more than one critical mistake. What you need to excel in as CEO is: Fundraising, Hiring, Management In that order As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ariel Assaraf. […]

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You can make a few small/medium mistakes and avoid more than one critical mistake. What you need to excel in as CEO is:

Fundraising, Hiring, Management

In that order


As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ariel Assaraf.

Ariel Assaraf is CEO of Coralogix. A veteran of the Israeli intelligence elite, he founded Coralogix to change how people analyze their operation, application, infrastructure and security data — one log at a time.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I got my start working as a product manager for the Israeli intelligence unit. There I had the opportunity to deal with complex problems and high budgets at a very early age — an experience that I am thankful for. After that, I started working for a multinational corporation with large scale homeland security projects in more than 120 countries.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

After four years at the corporation mentioned above, the challenge of identifying bugs/problems within the software, fixing them, and delivering new versions was a major pain point. Since well-established tools for this market were scarce, my business partner (and friend) and I decided to leave that company and start Coralogix. At the same time, my roommate had recently graduated with an MSc in Neuroscience and Machine Learning and joined our venture as a Co-founder. After three years of failing to go-to-market, we found our fit and started to grow rapidly. Today, I serve as the CEO.

Essentially, we started Coralogix after spending many years dealing with unmanageable data at our previous company. We saw that other solutions in the space were laser focused on helping you slice and dice data, but none of them were focused on providing insights straight out of the box. Coralogix fills that gap in the marketplace by providing a way to automatically learn the data while achieving broader coverage without the boundaries of storage.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Our story began like many other tech startups with a seed round that helped us build our product and add experienced leaders to our executive team. Unfortunately, three years later we had minimal revenue and no additional funds. We also lost our CTO and CEO over the course of four months. We were a company operating in a crowded space with limited resources.

There are few things in life more deflating than admitting that your product isn’t good. In fact, I don’t hesitate to say that it sucked! We made the really tough decision to stop developing that product and only keep it going for the few customers we had at the time. Ultimately, we built an entirely new platform with a new UI/UX, a new backend infrastructure, and completely re-written algorithms. We did that for six months and drew upon the feedback received in the past and combined it with the data we’ve analyzed, market research we conducted, and our team’s keen eye and talent for UI.

We also added an in-app chat and made a nearly impossible commitment to ourselves that we would answer every conversation in a professional manner in less than two minutes. Now keep in mind that we were only six people total at the time. I’m extremely proud of the fact that since then, we’ve honored that commitment and stuck to that criteria as our team and business continued to grow to over 2000 companies using Coralogix.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

The short answer is we’re growing. Over the past year, we’ve experienced significant momentum around customer growth. In the past six months alone, we added 500 customers and more than 20,000 users. This brings us to a total of 2000 customers including several Fortune 100 companies and leading startups including Masterclass, Monday.com, BookMyShow, Postman, PayU and more.

Also, we raised $25 million in a Series B round and launched our biggest product to date: ‘Streama’, our real-time analytics solution. This new release challenges the cost model of observability by allowing our customers to pay according to data priority instead of solely on volume. By re-engineering the Elasticsearch engine, we’re now able to offer queries, alerts, and our ML capabilities without the use of storage. Thousands of our customers — fast growing companies and large enterprises — are already seeing cost savings of up to 70 percent.

To top things off, we celebrated a number of significant milestones this year. We’ve automatically benchmarked more than 100,000 software versions so far, and analyzed more than one million events per second in real-time. We’ve also expanded our global footprint with teams in place across Europe, Israel, and the U.S. Earlier this year, we expanded into India with AWS regional server support.

How many employees does the company have? How many does it expect to have by the end of the year?

We currently have 70 employees and expect to reach 100 by the end of 2021.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

I recall one of our first VC meetings, when we were just trying to please the investor no matter what. She asked us: “So are you guys a cloud company or on prem?” and we replied “Both!.” She then asked “do you do licencing or subscription?” We replied again, “Both!” She, of course, sent us away to decide what it is that we want to be and come back later. That (great) VC by the way really wanted to join our latest round, but was a bit too late.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes Coralogix stand out in a market with such great competitors is our devotion to our customers’ success. We measure everything from a business value point of view which has multiple angles, technical, user experience, security, cost. We use our experience to provide an opinionated approach that helps our customers achieve their business goals and become successful, not just fill a hole.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Well, based on my experiences, I would advise them to constantly re-evaluate their product(s) and listen to feedback from your customers. That’s really the best way to ensure you’re always moving in the right direction. In terms of avoiding burnout, the harsh reality is that when you own a startup, you’re going to put in many long hours getting it off the ground. Once your company is established, it’s time to trust your team and avoid micromanaging everything like you may have done during early stages of your company when it was “your baby.” Letting go isn’t easy for many entrepreneurs, but it’s critical if you want to focus on long-term strategic goals, new ideas and growing your business.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

We get a lot of help from friends, advisors, and our investors who have proven themselves to be supportive — and not only when things are going well. But at the end of the day, the founders of our company, specifically myself and our CTO, owe our success to each other and the sacrifices we’ve made to get to this point.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

We currently have 1,800 customers including several Fortune 100 companies and leading startups including Masterclass, Monday.com, BookMyShow, Postman, PayU and more.

We are one of the leading content generators for many of the most common open sources in our space: Kafka, Elasticsearch, Grafana, Jenkins, Concourse, and more. We have over 30,000 people subscribed to our newsletter and growing. Our content is regularly published on our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

Our pricing is defined by the amount of data users want to send, how long they want to retain it, and the data priority they define. We direct our prospects to use the calculator on our website to generate a quote according to their selection. In short, we offer a way to pay per value instead of volume. Each priority represents a use case and offers the features required to sustain it. As most of a customer’s data doesn’t have to be searched as frequently as raw text, they may want to consider using this capability for savings or achieving broader coverage. Visit the Pricing page of our site for more details.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SaaS? Please share a story or an example for each.

You can make a few small/medium mistakes and avoid more than one critical mistake. What you need to excel in as CEO is:

Fundraising

Hiring

Management

In that order.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. 🙂

My dream is to tap the endless talent that resides in Africa and harness it to power tomorrow’s startups. Coralogix is going to do some steps there very soon, by the way.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

They can follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn or visit our website for the latest updates.

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