Ronen Shilo, CEO of Conduit
If you want to understand Ronen Shilo, Conduit's CEO and co-founder, do you need to know that he seldom reads business books or visits technology websites? That he collects old cameras, stereoscopes, and other vintage equipment? That he loves working with his hands and developed a toy to teach pre-school children about music and math? (He hasn’t sold it yet, but vows that he will someday.) That he got injured during his military service? That before he launched Conduit, he started two successful companies?
Check, check, check, to all of the above.
While it might seem hard to find a link between everything he’s done, there’s actually a powerful common thread. Ronen has the restless passion of an entrepreneur. He’s a consistent innovator in technology, always inventing more effective ways to strengthen connections – whether between people and content, between individuals, or between publishers and individuals.
His first company, DoubleAgent, was a pioneer in collaboration technology, enabling application sharing online. DoubleAgent was acquired by NetManage, and after managing the Israeli branch for three years, Ronen went on to start Effective-i, a learning system that enabled corporations sitting on vast troves of data to search it, organize it, and deliver it faster than ever before.
In retrospect, Ronen’s insight for starting Conduit was simple. (Most really big ideas are.) He recognized that the dizzying growth of options on the Internet would make it increasingly difficult for publishers to keep their users engaged. And, at the same time, he foresaw that users would have trouble staying engaged with the sites that mattered to them.
This fundamental idea launched Conduit, which started with six people in a small office in 2005. The three founders were true believers, and the first to invest any money into the company. Today, there are more than 300 people in a much larger office in Ness-Ziona, and a small team situated in Silicon Valley. The company has venture capital investments, but Ronen and his two founding partners still control over 50% of the company. They wouldn’t have it any other way. (It’s hard enough to answer to themselves, let alone having to answer to somebody else!)
Ronen is married with three amazing children. He graduated from the Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology, with a BSc in Computer Science. He spent two memorable years living in Silicon Valley, where he worked for Ready Systems, and still maintains many friendships from those days.
Ronen runs, plays tennis, has been loyally listening to the music of Queen since the darkest days of their popularity, and loves “The Sopranos.” His favorite quote is one that he secretly believes was written for him: “All due respect, you got no fuckin' idea what it's like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other fuckin' thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it all.”
He is a full-in, hands-on, totally-engaged CEO, who sees his role to inspire, question, provoke, and walk through the halls listening for any evidence of conventional wisdom. As you might expect, it doesn’t stand a chance.