The Unicorn Staying True to its Israeli Roots
Monday.com is arguably the biggest unicorn in Israeli high tech, but its founders Roy Mann and Eran Zinman have no intention of relocating from Tel Aviv
Product: customizable workflow management solutions
Year founded: 2012
Founders: Roy Mann, Eran Zinman
Number of employees: 470
Funding raised: $234 million
One of the customary landmarks for Israeli high tech startups is the relocation to the U.S. of one its founders, usually the CEO, very early in the life of the company. This step is part of an outlook that says that you can’t set up an international company from the 25th floor of the Sarona Tower in Tel Aviv, because you need to be in the same zip code as the major investors and the Fortune 500 behemoths. But this is not the case with the biggest unicorn Israeli high tech currently has to offer. Roy Mann and Eran Zinman, the founders of Monday.com Labs Ltd., created a company that is now worth an approximated $2 billion and concluded 2019 with annual recurring revenue of $120 million, and all that without leaving the center of Tel Aviv.
"We don't believe that a company needs to be split up between different locations. Roy and I spend a lot of time together, as does all our management here. Now, more than ever, it works well," Zinman told Calcalist. "With the strange reality in which everyone is now working from home, all of a sudden the physical location isn't as significant. We believe in a view that says that the best thing for a company is that everyone is on the same page and are in constant communication."
Mann echoed the same sentiment. "From the start, we aimed to set up a big company that the vast majority of its employees would be based in Israel, and we didn't want to sell," Mann said. "In the meantime, it has mainly worked to our advantage. Even Wix.com Ltd., which was our first customer, chose to keep the company in Israel."
Monday.com develops and markets a team management platform for organizations and businesses such as academic institutions, manufacturing companies, and the hospitality industry. The team management and productivity startup launched back in February Monday 2.0, a work operating system (work OS) that enables companies to build custom workflow apps in a matter of minutes. Monday's new operating system will include a marketplace, enabling developers to create and package apps, custom widgets, and workflows for use by their own organization or for commercial use by other organizations.
"In the past, all these work tools were very inflexible and were meant to solve a certain problem," Zinman explained. "The overall attitude was that the user was the one who needs to adjust. But when the problem was solved, the tool became irrelevant. Monday democratized software development so that every client can develop what he needs."
Mann spoke of the advantages provided by the platform's resilience. "It suits a small company that installs doors as well as an airplane assembly line," he said. "This dynamism allows people to set up operations really quickly. We get a lot of inquiries from research centers and districts in the U.S. and throughout the world who are using the platform as they tackle the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic."
These approaches join those from companies across the globe who have moved to working from home and use Monday to coordinate and communicate. "Our customers told us that Monday has made working from home much smoother," Zinman said, adding that companies are still finding their footing in this new reality. "People spend a lot of time in meetings and on video applications like Zoom. That hurts productivity. The longer the crisis continues, people will find more efficient ways to communicate."
Mann noted that Monday is ready to adapt to the ever-changing reality. "Everyone's first instinct was to move to video, but now people are looking for a more systematic and structural solution that will bring order to the workflow," Mann said. "Instead of trying to predict the future we prefer to be with our finger on the pulse and understand what our clients are looking for. It doesn't matter what the reality looks like, we will adjust our product. If people will seek consolidation of tools due to the pandemic we will do that. If they want to focus on investment returns we will be there because we provide solutions for working remotely that make the process more efficient. We lead our field, but will react to the market. We built a ship that can change direction very quickly and that is why it isn't as necessary for us to try and predict the future."
Monday featured in Calcalist and CTech’s 2020 list of Israel’s most promising startups.
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