Dani Avitz is the co-founder and COO of Algopix – eBay & Amazon Product Market Research Tool. Research platform for the eCommerce community focused on providing actionable and meaningful insights for Amazon/eBay sellers.
Tell us your history and Algopix history?
It all started with a suit. As a law student in Israel, I simply had to get one for my internship interviews. And suits? They’re expensive. In Israel, at least. So while my classmates were debating how many thousands of dollars to spend in order to make a good first impression – I drew from my eCommerce experience of selling art reproductions after the army. eBay, I remembered, has anything, probably even suits.
The year was 2007, and while eBay already was an auction juggernaut, buying clothes from Asian tailors was still a strange and fascinating concept. With less than half of my friends’ budgets, I got two suits – virtually indistinguishable from theirs. The only disadvantage was the hassle, and the uncertainty, of the sales process.
It was a jungle out there, both for buyers and for the sellers. Yet within the mess, there were opportunities for anyone who set out to bring order to the chaos. So after passing the bar exam, I’ve promptly decided that practicing law isn’t for me. My first company with my business partner Ori Greenberg was iCommerce – a consultancy for eCommerce companies that wanted to expand to new markets.
After 6 years, we sold iCommerce, but by then, I was hooked. I have also begun to realize that the biggest pain point for professional sellers, is the market research. Before sourcing inventory, or producing a new product, everyone wants to anticipate demand and understand the competition. That’s how Algopix was born.
What is the most interesting story that happened to you since you started Algopix?
Let’s go for interesting, as funny is in short supply within our industry. One of the things we at Algopix do is enabling local merchants, who usually operate within their domestic market, to discover opportunities abroad. They might have some stock that, even with the added shipping and tax charges, can yield better profits.
Yet one time, there was a client who even after seeing it, was still reluctant to try. Their reason was decidedly unbusinesslike – prejudice. The customers in the other country were “untrustworthy”, even though the client never even tried selling to them.
Well, there are some things even the best dataset can’t fix.
What do you think makes Algopix unique?
Algopix was born to solve a very concrete pain point. We’re not two idealists who set out to change the world or disrupt the market with amorphous innovation. Both Ori and I have worked in this field for a better part of the decade, and know exactly where the friction is for the merchant. All we’re doing is eliminating this friction while being laser-focused on the problem.
This might sound like our scope is limited. It is. And we think that this is a good thing. Algopix can show positive ROI from the first moments of use, even at this stage. Besides all of that, we have our own eBay & Amazon selling tools blog with valuable eCommerce industry news and insights.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Rather than focus on a single person, I’d like to talk about communities. The Israeli start-up community is truly amazing. While I’ve heard that it’s warm and nurturing even before becoming a part of it, I could not have imagined how great those people are.
Our community is filled with incredibly helpful VCs, who give you the time of day and push you to succeed even if they don’t invest. It also has hundreds of founders who recognize that together we’re stronger than apart – getting an intro is never complicated, and no assistance request will go unanswered.
Any tips for other entrepreneurs in our community?
- Startup life is always an emotional rollercoaster.
It’s not that I haven’t been told that before, but I wish someone could find a way to explain it in a way that actually resembles reality. The elation after a successful deal, the angst over a problematic feature, the anxiety of an important meeting – all of these can and do happen, within a span of hours.
- Murphy’s law is not a legend – it’s part of the business plan.
When something can go wrong, it will go wrong. The exceptions are the small moments of reprieve in which startups can succeed. And so, you need to plan for that, understand that dropping your guard is never an option, whereas reinventing yourself always is.
- Don’t fall in love with your product.
You might adore your initial idea, and think that it has the potential to disrupt trillion-dollar industries while changing the world for the better. But pesky concepts such as data-driven decisions, and product-market fit can throw a wrench into your wheel at any moment. And then, it’s all about how you adapt.
- Trust your intelligence.
A founder who does not trust their intelligence, will not be able to make crucial decisions, so there’s really no choice in the matter if you want to start your own company. Silence the self-doubt, amplify the inner advisor, and go with your gut when you know it’s the right thing to do. You won’t always be right, and it’s important to separate hubris from a true gut feeling, but indecisiveness kills companies.
- Be fast(er).
Everyone talks about failing fast to innovate fast. But as with the emotional rollercoaster, before you’re in it, you can’t really understand how quickly a startup needs to move. When you’re moving fast enough, you can allow yourself to be wrong more than an established industry giant. And when you do find the thread of innovation, you can pull it faster.
Who do you look up to for inspiration?
Elon Musk. He’s not just one of the most talented entrepreneurs alive but is someone who’s undoubtedly a visionary. I’d love to understand how he sees the world, and what drives him.