When was SimilarWeb established?
Did you set out then to do what you do now?
SimilarWeb has quite a unique origin story, having pivoted several times.
My parents were artists. My dad was a painter and sculpture, and my mom was a jewelry designer. When I finished three years in the army (a requirement for all Israeli citizens at age 18), I decided I would go back and scale my mother’s workshop into a big empire.
I started selling to more jewelry stores and then directly to consumers. I hired factories in India and China to make the products and we grew to 20 employees.
One day, I had a meeting with a partner selling the jewelry in the US who told me my designs were very similar to David Yurman, the popular American designer.
I said I don’t know him. He was looking at me like you don’t know David Yurman? He’s a big thing in the US. I went home and researched David Yurman. I saw this amazing jewelry design and immediately fell in love. I was shocked that I never heard of him as he was in my niche. I thought, I want to be like him, how could I never have heard of him?”
I wanted to see all the other sites on the Internet that had designers like David Yurman, and I couldn’t find them.
I then decided to create something that would allow anyone interested in one company or organization (such as David Yurman) to be able to find website recommendations of similar sites. I am a coder from a young age, and with a close friend from the army (now our CTO) we created a website recommendation tool, collecting data using browser-plug-ins which people installed. This was the start of SimilarWeb.
— SimilarWeb (@SimilarWeb) December 8, 2015
We soon found internet researchers were banging at our door for the rich data our plug-ins were collecting. We had uncovered anonymous data showing clear trends in people’s surfing behaviors that these researchers wanted to buy. We had found a business model.
This encouraged us to build more apps, and collect more data to sell.
It was profitable. But by 2011 I wanted a better reason to wake up in the morning, to bring something very valuable to the world.
It was then I set out to make the company into the global leader in digital market intelligence. In 2011, we were crazy enough to think we would succeed. Our main goal was to take over Alexa, the main internet ranking firm at the time. However they only offered simple website rankings but with little other insight. I wanted to disrupt the industry and give other companies the data to make waves in their own industries, through understanding and benchmarking their performance against competitors.
Today we are the global leader in digital analytics. We have the most accurate data worldwide and work with leading clients including eBay, Google and Nike. We analyze traffic, engagement, time on site, and other key metrics for over 80 million websites and 3 million apps from 196 countries, enabling businesses to analyze their competitive landscape and drive more effective growth strategies across the web, mobile web and mobile app ecosystems.
The company now employs over 250 people across 4 global offices, as compared to fewer than 60 employees one year ago, and aims to have 350 employees by the end of 2016.
— SimilarWeb (@SimilarWeb) November 30, 2015
We like your product, what additional insights come with the paid-for version?
The world in which business operate today is digital so having the market intelligence about this constantly evolving world is paramount to success.With our freemium model, anyone can find useful insights about their industry and competitors. The free version has given powerful and actionable insights for the first time to millions of businesses, publishers, and content strategists, helping to create a better understanding of the online ecosystem.
The Pro is used by businesses to discover, decide and deploy their online strategy, and is essential for anyone investing in their online strategy. Inside the Pro version we provide clients the traffic and engagement from mobile web and desktop,, as well as engagement and retention from mobile apps. You can filter by country to understand local insights as well as industry overviews for the top 10,000 sites for any country or industry. We are continuously upgrading our tools, and looking at acquisitions to constantly remain ahead of our competitors, and ensure SimilarWeb is the essential tool for every business.
— SimilarWeb (@SimilarWeb) November 24, 2015
What interesting / unexpected insights have you unearthed?
We have helped sectors, from publishing, to retail and travel, to spend their resources more effectively and achieve significant growth and are used by clients including Google, eBay and Nike.
To take only one example, DeliveryHero, a global network of online food ordering, uses our platform across their marketing. They have used our data to target the best performing keywords, either by increasing PPC spend or investing more in SEO. They have used it to identify high quality publisher sites and affiliates, enabling them to negotiate deals based on actual traffic potential. They are also optimizing their marketing campaigns, by creating better performing pages based on competitor’ social activity.
Our analysis is being used far and wide. This includes insights into the U.S Presidential campaign showing Bernie Sanders has received more web traffic than all other candidates combined. We have provided insights that have informed the debate as DraftKings and FanDuel have recently faced action over their online activities in the U.S. Or a range of reports, which are helping retailers better target consumers and understand the optimum shopping days.
How are you different to your competitors out there?
We are more global, our data panel is the largest and the way we collect data is more diverse. The core of our product is the strength of our data across all industries and countries. We have created our own crawler that collects billions of data points per month from around the web and digital world. We own the largest and most diverse panel in the world comprised of over 100 million users. We partner with Internet Service Providers around the world, while tens of thousands of websites and apps directly share their Google analytics data with us.
— SimilarWeb (@SimilarWeb) November 23, 2015
How do you deal with people trying to game the system and inflate their ranking with you?
This threat is built in to our data collection and methodology. We have thousands of different sources of data which makes it virtually impossible to game our data.
What are SimilarWeb’s plans for the future?
We aim to continue our growth, particularly in the US and China. The company now employs over 270 people across 4 global offices, as compared to fewer than 60 employees one year ago, and aims to have 350 employees by the end of 2016.
We are continuously upgrading our tools, hiring major new talent, and looking at acquisitions to ensure SimilarWeb is the essential tool for every business. We want to become the new way of doing business.
We want our platform to be internalized at every level of a company, from the marketing team working on their SEO or advertising strategy, to the CFO receiving data on an investment or acquisition. If you are in marketing you can maximize every campaign, a researcher can become a trendsetter, while any startup can become a unicorn through the value and insights of digital intelligence and insights.
— SimilarWeb (@SimilarWeb) November 10, 2015
We met your team at Web summit, how did it go for you? What interesting encounters came out of it for SimilarWeb?
Web summit is has been an amazing conference over the years. Many companies at the conference use and like SimilarWeb, so it is a great opportunity to show the full value of our product. We were in a fortunate position to have people queuing up for a demonstration and to meet our team.
The conference brings together the best collection of digital people from all over the world. WebSummit has done a phenomenal job of hosting it and one of the most special moments for me is meeting those who have created the booming tech scene in Ireland, which is a great source of admiration across the world. We met amazing companies and are actively engaged in new deals from the conference.
What future trends are you excited about?
The comeback of virtual reality is exciting and continuing developments in mobile which might mean the next version Playstation might sit within our phone.Driverless cars also have the potential to revolutionize transportation .
Tips to other startups based on the experiences of SimilarWeb
You should make sure to thoroughly understand the competitive market. It is not enough to solve the problem, but also understand who else is solving it and how well they are doing it. As our experience shows, being open to pivot, and having a credible business model is extremely crucial.
I would also say it is vital to get the hiring right when major growth occurs. We invested a great deal to ensure we created a company with a reputation and perks where people want to work. What helped us recruit the best talent was investing in our persona. We want people to see SimilarWeb and say, “I definitely want to work there.’” The firmly held belief that “we’re going to change the world,” is a sentiment that you want your employees to instinctively feel. Your pitch is not just for financial futures, but also the people who will invest their personal futures into your company’s success.
— Quettra (@Quettra) December 10, 2015
Anything else we should have asked you / you’d like to add?
We are excited to have acquired the Silicon Valley-based mobile intelligence company, Quettra, which will continue to enhance our app information and insights. We will better be able to provide the data that app developers need to better understand their own audience and make better monetization decisions by out strategizing the competition. Our goal is continued investment in the leading talent and technology to ensure we are the number one player in the mobile and app ecosystem.