When a person comes into a field with an outside mindset, it can sometimes bring a new perspective on what is possible. This was the case with Gil Allouche, a software engineer working as a marketer.
As he spent countless hours identifying targets, testing campaigns, and converting leads, he came to realize that much of the work could be automated. He founded Metadata to make it happen.
It took some learning, though, to get the funding he needed. “I can just walk through my path and it will be all the things you should not do,” he says. But eventually he got it right, and Metadata is now helping major brands bring in millions in sales.
In this edition of Founders Journey, Gil talks more about those things he shouldn’t have done and how he persevered.
More information: https://metadata.io/
A software engineer turned data-driven marketer, Gil spent the last 7 years running marketing at BI/Data startups -grew them from zero to ~1-2MM ARR in less than 12 months.
Gil Allouche is the founder of Metadata –a marketing platform for B2B that sets lead generation on auto-pilot using data enrichment and multi-channel targeted ads. Prior to Metadata Gil was the VP marketing at Qubole – a Big Data cloud company.
Previously Gil ran marketing at Karmasphere (Acquired by FICO). Before that – Gil ran marketing for Spotfire SaaS offering where he developed and executed go-to-market plans that increased growth by 600 percent in just 18 months.
Metadata is an autonomous demand generation platform that automates the most critical but often tedious tasks in marketing to help companies efficiently scale their demand generation efforts. Through machine learning, a proprietary corporate-to-personal identity graph, and automatic optimization to revenue KPIs, Metadata’s platform generates demand from target accounts and converts them to customers much faster than legacy methods.
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Gil Allouche 0:00
If I knew like, Okay, I have to reverse engineering to that pattern. And then you know, you don’t go too early because you look at a pattern and you look at the trajectory and you understand where you are.
Alexander Ferguson 0:17
Welcome, everyone to UpTech Report. This is our Founders Journey series. UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at teraleap.io. I’m joined by my guest, Gil Allouche, who is based in San Francisco, CEO and Founder of Metadata.io. And this is part two of our discussion, definitely check out part one, where we learned about their product metadata and how it’s changing the space around pipeline generation. So those who are maybe a VP of demand generation in the b2b mid market area, definitely a product to look into. But yeah, I’m excited to hear more about your journey. I mean, how did you get to where you are today, running this company in five years? Now? Tell me what’s your story?
Gil Allouche 0:57
Yeah, it started, didn’t come up in the middle of the night, the idea of metadata, I mentioned it a little bit in the first part, I was I was a VP of dimension, I was the VP of Marketing, that was my role, I was a marketer, and I needed to figure out how to build pipeline for sales, I needed to do it in a repetitive manner. So that to create rapport and establish good relationship and really achieve the achieve the goals. Several companies, right? Yeah, we did it in that Spotfire was the first company I, I was in marketing, and then commerce sphere, and then that Cubot, all three companies got acquired. And I learned a lot from because I have an engineering mindset, I learned a lot about what is possible to automate. The today should be automated today. And that really led me to start with it I, I realized that I have a competitive advantage being an engineer running marketing, my quant my contracts in the example, and I realized that you actually, you can take me outside of the equation. And you can take my my colleagues as well, as you know, there’s a nice cohort of technical marketers out there. You can use a piece of software to replicate what the modern, technical, experimental data driven marketer will do for you. And that’s, that’s why we started,
Alexander Ferguson 2:11
you saw where everything’s going, that technology can can serve that purpose. Now, you saw the need, you saw the demand, you were in the space, you’re like, I’m going to start a company funding, obviously, is a big piece to get started, what would you say is the biggest mistake one could make when seeking funding and any insights that you have gathered?
Gil Allouche 2:28
I think I made so many mistakes and still do about fundraising. So I can pretty much just like walk through my path. And it will be all the things they should not do. Things that you should not do, for example, is go and talk to 40 or so investors, 35 and 40 investors, without really changing the deck drastically, they change it a little bit here. And there, you listened to every advice. That was really, really difficult. I learned that. And I did stop early, when we did the state the seed after I think, six or seven meetings that were you know, kind of negative negative responses. I said, stop it, I’m going to go back to the business and work on it, get to get more traction and get more momentum, get more truth. You know, so that I believe it even more, and then I go, and and when we’re there decide to rate. And you know, when you get to that mindset and you start working on the business and you start improving the KPIs, it’s inevitable that you will start having those conversations and suddenly, you’ll see that you were enabled, close, unable to close before. So that’s a
Alexander Ferguson 3:34
it’s like we said actually build the building the business and the KPIs itself will help build the right deck that people will say, Yes, I want invest in this.
Gil Allouche 3:42
That’s right. And when you’re I think you were asking me before the five years, you know, the tip, I would give myself five years back, if I knew like, Okay, I have to reverse engineering to that pattern. And then you know, you don’t go too early because you look at a pattern and you look at the trajectory and you understand where you are to see Are you very investable, very attractive, you know, not as much you know, you can understand things from the point of view of the investor.
Alexander Ferguson 4:07
Now, one piece is funding the next is building the right team and cultivating that. How big is the team today, we’re about 35 people 35 And what kind of lessons learn when it comes to building the team and hiring the right people that that you can share.
Gil Allouche 4:24
Similar to investing I also made a million mistakes there. I think what works well, with what I think works well is to create create a culture create a space in which you can bring in the people you’re like to work with. So you create a space in which people that you really want to work with will say this is awesome to work here. And that usually includes things like you know, allowing for authenticity, open, open environment, no hierarchy, lead by example, you know, not making From fear, but versus from opportunity, if you have those elements that those healthy elements of an early stage startup, then you’ll attract the best minds because they will all want to work there that it will be the kind of area where they know, okay, I can speak my mind here, if I have a better idea, it is married, you know, it has married, you know, if, you know, I can be very direct in my communication, I can be flexible, there’s flexibility here in the startup. So I think that was, you know, an important part to create. The second part, please,
Alexander Ferguson 5:36
say, do you hire your friends? Or do you how do you go through your your fundraising people? Where do you get the right people,
Gil Allouche 5:43
you know, in the beginning, you do hit your network more often, but very quickly, you learn that, you know, it has, it has an advantage, but it also has a disadvantage, because it almost creates like a secret, you know, like a very homogenic you know, you hire a friend, you kind of create a homogenic you know, culture or, or company and I find diversity to be the competitive advantage. And so, today, and I should take, I should thank Alana and, and some other people who are who drove us to be fully remote. The way we hire today is actually, it’s anonymous in the beginning, meaning I don’t even know if I know you, or your name, your country, all of those things are anonymous. It’s 100%, Married basic, further with the form. So the way we hired today’s remote, and it’s the process is such that I think we actually get the best, the best candidates, it’s fully diverse, allowing for people that are, you know, maybe historically, like just because of the different country or before for age or gender and things, sometimes companies will disqualify for us how to proceed in competitive advantage, we found it to be very advantageous to work with people that have, from a performance perspective, from a credential perspective, overqualified, but from other factors that before working remote, had higher weight, they’re disqualified. And so when we find that match, usually the best because we give an opportunity to they didn’t have otherwise. And we get down in depth, we wouldn’t have otherwise,
Alexander Ferguson 7:13
as as a win win. When it comes to that building the right team, that’s a powerful step so that you can be able to move forward now getting the right clients, that’s where the money comes. In today’s environment, and obviously, this is the space you’re in, you’re actually providing this service, what common mistakes do you see people are making when it comes to marketing in in the the world that we’re in right now?
Gil Allouche 7:36
I think it’s easy to do too much and lose focus and not not be really conscious about what you’re doing. So I think what works is starting, you’re asking about from a customer acquisition perspective, starting to think the downscale you know, going, really talking to every customer that purchase your product and understanding intimately. Why exactly do they buy using those words, not the words that you come up with in a meeting with other VPS using the customer words, on your website, use the customer words for the salesperson script, using the you know, setting up a cab, early customer advisory board, learning very intimately from them, what works, what doesn’t work and getting the feedback before the customer returns when when they’re just starting to get pissed off? When you miss up on something
Alexander Ferguson 8:20
for your customer advisory board? How did you set that? How did you set that up? And how do you use it?
Gil Allouche 8:28
The customer advisory board for us is comprised of customers that are representing our ideal customer profile. And we meet every month, we have an open Slack channel. And we have a few other communication methods in which we run by the advisory board feature that we want to build the roadmap prioritization, every time we’re about to, to introduce new pricing, and new service. When we’re asking about our position in the market, when you need to help when you get new customer, they’ll get testimonials, get a reference, all of those things, the customer advisory board is very, very helpful, because they’re very honest, they’re very direct, they already have the relationship. But they also represent the other side. So they can tell you like look professional services, yeah, you should be putting professional services like we were waiting for you to charge us for it. You know, that’s something that is the kind of feedback that you can get from from a customer disclosed to you and really a partner,
Alexander Ferguson 9:18
you would know unless you were having those conversations, which is which is powerful. Did you how long did you have that advisory board like from early on and what year end? Did you create that?
Gil Allouche 9:27
Well, the advisory board for the company is something we did very early. We had some customers but not only and that started really in 2016. In fact, my board member today, Bill Portelli, he was an advisor of mine first and he connected me with customers, etc. And then the customer advisory board itself, just the customers having their own cohort that started about a year back, maybe a
Alexander Ferguson 9:49
year back. Gotcha. Okay, so about three or four years and for yourself as a leader any books, podcasts, audio books that you would recommend that you’re a big fan of,
Gil Allouche 9:59
you know, one day Whoa, Ben Horowitz is gonna send me a check for this comment because the hard things about hard things, the first book that he wrote that that the second thing that he wrote, you are what you do, I consider those to be extremely valuable. They’re very down to earth very personal and intimate that they talk about the real shit that happens, using the language starting a company. So I think those are really, really beneficial.
Alexander Ferguson 10:21
Last question for you yo, wire, what do you predict, as far as technology innovations coming down the line near term and long term? What do you see coming up?
Gil Allouche 10:33
I mean, near term, I think, you know, a lot of automation, of course, and a lot of remote. So anything that will enable people to work remotely and work companies digitally, I think this is short term, you everyone understand this has already been shrunk to for next five years, in the next year. I think long term, we’re going to start seeing things that we didn’t really think of meaning we had some ideas of what the future is going to look like. And I think that the faster you know that the whole you know, the the pattern, it will, it will it will change faster. So as I think it’s the next few years will come, we’ll see things that we expected to come in 510 years faster, and then to be completely new, creative world to live in, because the changing is happening fast.
Alexander Ferguson 11:27
I can’t I agree with you thinks it’s speeding up. And if anything that that automation and integration of technology is going to blow us away.
Gil Allouche 11:35
Right. That’s the thing with the code of events.
Alexander Ferguson 11:38
Hello, well, thank you so much gophers for sharing both your insight the journey that you’ve been on, definitely check out part one if you haven’t yet to hear more about metadata and the amazing, interesting platform that they are building and what they’re moving forward with. To check more out, go to metadata.io or go to UpTechreport.com. To hear more great interviews. Thanks again for joining us. Our sponsor for today’s episode is TeraLeap. If your company wants to learn how to better leverage the power of video to increase your sales and marketing results, head over to TeraLeap.io and learn about the new product customer stories. Thanks again everyone, and we’ll see you next time. That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech report.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you’re subscribed to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.