From Buzzfeed to Yahoo!, Los Angeles is home to more than 500 tech companies, which are rapidly reshaping our city into a technology epicenter. Angeleno brothers, Brian and Robert Roizen, are firmly part of this explosive scene. In 2015, along with CEO Shawn Lipman, they launched Woodland Hills-based Feedonomics, a service that helps online stores organize data by expediting and optimizing feed management and delivery.
“We started Feedonomics about three and half years ago, but have been developing websites for over 15 years” explains Robert, age 27, Feedonomics Chief Technology Officer.
Their father Igor Roizen, who serves as head of their Technology Advisory board, is a foremost expert in Artificial Intelligence and was on the winning team of the 2012 Turing Award (considered the Nobel Prize in computing). “We could always count on our Dad’s help in solving challenging math and physics problems,” shares 30-year-old Brian, Feedonomics Chief Architect. “Now the gears have changed to [my father] helping us solve complex infrastructure scalability problems.”
1/ You are both Los Angeles home-grown, where did you go to college?
Brian: We were born and raised in L.A., and interestingly enough, didn’t stray too far from Westwood our whole lives. Robert and I both went to UCLA where I studied Mechanical Engineering and MEMS (Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems), and Robert studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. We lived at home to save money and were able to pay tuition through making websites and apps.
2/ What is Feedonomics and why did you start it?
Brian: We help online stores list their products in the places where people search for products, including Google, Amazon, Facebook, and eBay.
We help these stores fix problems with their underlying product data and get better performance through optimization of that data.
Online stores show up more frequently in search results when their product data resembles the way people search for it. Showing up in search results more frequently usually translates to increased revenue.
Robert: Out of college, we were working at an internet marketing agency in L.A. managing online advertising for retailers. One of the most challenging aspects of eCommerce advertising was dealing with product data, and syndicating those products to dozens of different places, like Google and Amazon.
We had a client who was a publicly-traded company with over 12 million products and numerous data issues. After trying all the legacy feed platforms out there, we found that none could handle the scale we needed with the right balance of data optimization capabilities.
So we solved the problem at hand, realizing soon thereafter that thousands of agencies and retailers deal with those exact same problems. Feedonomics was born out of that realization.
3/ How did you get funding and put the team together?
Brian: Unlike most startups today, we are completely self-funded. That means we took no venture capital or private equity money. While the journey hasn’t always been so easy, it has definitely been more rewarding. Not being beholden to investors means we can control our own destiny and truly make a meaningful impact not just for customers, but also for our team.
We have a very unique culture at Feedonomics where everyone is collaborative and friendly. We don’t hire for management positions externally, preferring to promote from within. We also don’t have an HR director doing interviews, but instead have one of the founders (me) interview each and every hire. I have never been in an environment like it.
4/ Do you have a recent client success story that stands out?
Robert: One of our most memorable clients is HD Supply, the former professional services division of Home Depot. They have over 70,000 products and over 44 distribution centers in the US and Canada.
HD Supply came to us after their Google advertising campaigns were not performing well, and suspected it was due to poor product data.
Part of the problem was that HD Supply receives their data from over 1,000 different sources. One source might have a brand of “Black+Decker” and another might have “Black & Decker”. Normalizing brand names, acronyms, materials, and sizes helped improve the quality of HD Supply’s data and resulted in significantly better performance on different advertising channels.
5/ What made you set up shop in Woodland Hills?
Brian: While we have offices in Northern California, Texas, Canada, London, Australia, and South Africa, our main headquarters is located in Woodland Hills. Because of our location, we heavily recruit from great local schools like UCLA, CSUN, and USC. Over half of our 80+ employees went to one of those schools.
We are also around the corner from a multitude of restaurants like Mod Pizza and Chipotle, as well as supermarkets like Ralphs and Costco. We also are right next door to Pickwick Pub (fun fact: where “The Office” was filmed) where we often win team trivia events.
To find out more about Feedonomics, check it out here.