Retention automation company Optimove relocates to New York – Interview with CEO Pini Yakuel

Retaining customers in today’s retail FX industry is a major consideration and innovative methods of automating the process are now very much on the horizon, with major broker technology providers beginning to commit R&D resources toward including such features within their enterprise systems in order to provide brokerages with a method of keeping their operating costs […]

Optimove relocates to New York

Retaining customers in today’s retail FX industry is a major consideration and innovative methods of automating the process are now very much on the horizon, with major broker technology providers beginning to commit R&D resources toward including such features within their enterprise systems in order to provide brokerages with a method of keeping their operating costs down.

Recently. FinanceFeeds took a close look at how Leverate is concentrating on automation, in a video documentary within which senior developers within the company explained how automation is vital.

Today, a new era begins for another company which has taken automation on board as a very important service for brokerages, that company being Israeli company Optimove, which is now in the process of relocating its operations to New York.

FinanceFeeds met with CEO Pini Yakuel, who detailed the rationale behind the move, and how the company intends to expand its service.

Talk us through what Optimove has experienced since startup, and how it has expanded its reach since Forbes recognized it as one of Israel’s most promising startup technology firms two years ago?

The past two years have been a period of tremendous growth for Optimove. The Optimove Customer Marketing Cloud evolved into a cutting-edge personalized customer marketing solution, leading the space, both in terms of innovation and usability.

The company has grown dramatically to support both technology development and the service and support of a rapidly-growing list of global clients. In a space which is evolving like on steroids, our insistence on staying ahead of the game and remaining the solution of choice for marketers has proved to be a boon for growth in all verticals.

The automation of customer retention is a subject that broker technology providers are now only just starting to look at and develop in ernest. What was Optimove’s lead on this development like and how did it stand Optimove in good stead for going global? Which initial customers in this industry took it on at enterprise level?

Initially, Optimove was a major player in the CRM-obsessed gaming industry, and from there we naturally expanded into e-commerce, fintech, apps and many other types of large B2C businesses. Currently, most of our clients work with Optimove on an enterprise level. Broker technologies focused a lot of effort on acquisition, but once the industry matured into focusing more on retention, Optimove was their solution of choice. We began working with leading brokerages, and just kept growing from there.

In addition, the product evolved to provide better solutions to brokers’ needs: real-time customer interactions, customer journey management and high-definition customer marketing.

Talking of going global, Optimove recently relocated from Tel Aviv to New York, a dynamic that is becoming relatively commonplace as Israel remains the ‘startup nation’ and breeding ground for innovation. Once established, North America often beckons. What are the contributing factors to this?

If you want to be a major player in technology, you can’t overlook North America. In order to become a market or category leader, you need a major presence in the US. And I’m talking a physical, boots on the ground presence – not the kind of presence that relies only on Skype or GoToMeeting.

So while the company’s headquarters remains in Tel Aviv, I will be relocating to New York to head our office there, with the goal of enhancing our presence and accelerating our growth in North America.

With cost of customer acquisition and retention in the electronic trading industry at an all time high, solutions which improve customer lifetime values electronically are paramount, however other e-commerce businesses are now starting to have similar experiences. On moving to New York, will Optimove court other industry sectors?

Optimove’s stability is based on our early decision to work with, and adapt for, all verticals. Our clients are diversified enough to allow us to withstand competition in any single vertical. We work with large, global ecommerce clients, but we also have a steady presence in real-money gaming, social gaming, fintech, etc. In the US, we aim to strengthen our hold in all these sectors.

Israel’s technology providers often develop solutions for retail trading firms in Cyprus, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, however America’s vast institutional trading capitals of Chicago and New York often develop in-house technology for trading firms that use futures exchanges, and often rely on CME, ICE and NASDAQ for their systems.

Will Optimove head into the institutional platform technology world as Chicago’s futures industry constantly looks at high net worth retail traders?

The answer is a resounding Yes. Optimove is an ideal solution for every kind of brokerage, exchange and fintech operator. Since these are very large corporations, the sales cycle is longer than usual, but we are already in negotiations with major players in this space.

What advice would you give technology providers wanting to establish a major presence in America?

Building your business on another continent involves much entrepreneurship and demands the ability to build a local operation from the ground up. And in business, this is, arguably, the hardest part. So it only makes sense that the person who’s already done this once before will lean on that experience while taking on the American market.

And since it’s a tough market, it’s also sensible to relocate the person with the strongest firepower: the one who is most familiar with the product, the competition, the business case. That’s why we decided that the company’s CEO should be the one to lead the American operation. The fact that the CEO heads the US office is also a statement towards the American market: we are so serious about your space, that the company’s CEO will be meeting you personally!

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