Israeli Serial Entrepreneurs Found Fourth Startup

Salto Labs, which has no external funding, is thought to be developing a product for the organizational technology market that is designed to simplify and increase efficiency

Sagi Cohen
Sagi Cohen
File photo: Rami Tamir and Benny Schnaider celebrate the sale of Qumranet in 2008.
File photo: Rami Tamir and Benny Schnaider celebrate the sale of Qumranet in 2008.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Sagi Cohen
Sagi Cohen

The website doesn’t offer any bits of information. It doesn’t try to market anything, offers no technical explanations and has no photos. All that’s there is the video game Pong.

It would be hard to guess that this is actually the home page of one of Israel’s more interesting startups. The founders are Rami Tamir and Benny Schnaider, serial entrepreneurs with an unusually strong record: Over the past 20 years, the two founded and sold off three companies for a sum totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Schnaider was involved in additional exits on his own. Their last joint exit was Ravello, which was bought by Oracle in 2016 for an estimated $450 million.

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The two founded Salto Labs in January, TheMarker has learned. As opposed to their previous endeavors, this company currently has no external funding. Schnaider refused to release details about the company or its product, which he said is still in the stealth mode, an early phase.

As far as is known, Salto is developing a product for the organizational technology market that is designed to simplify and increase efficiency for organizations using these programs. The entrepreneurs are very familiar with this field from their previous roles at both startups and at large companies. Schnaider and Tamir also have significant experience working with foreign companies that could be potential customers for their new product.

Schnaider and Tamir founded Salto some three years after selling Ravello. In the interim years, they served as deputy presidents of Oracle Israel, and continued leading Ravello within Oracle. At the end of 2018 they left Oracle and took with them other employees and founders who came from Ravello.

Another founder of Salto is Gil Hoffer, one of Ravello’s first employees and its manager of research and development. Hopper went on to be a deputy president for software development at Oracle. Others also came from Ravello through Oracle to Salto, including Hadar Davidovich, who now lists herself as Salto’s VP of software engineering. Etti Hanuchi, who was Ravello’s VP-finances, is listed as a board member at Salto.

Salto is not the first company to be birthed by Ravello. Nevin Tadani and Gal Moab, who held senior positions at both Ravello and Oracle, also left their jobs over the past year to found Evinced, another start-up still in the stealth mode. Another Ravello former employee, Shmulik Ladkani, was a cofounder of the cyber company Meta Networks in 2016, which was bought out by U.S. cyber company Proofpoint for $120 million this month.

For Schnaider and Tamir, this is a proven modus operandi. The two have spent the past two decades founding start-ups, selling them to large companies, working at that company for a few years as stipulated in their contract, and then leaving to found a new start-up. Their acquaintances describe them as modest yet still hungry even after multiple successes.

In 1998, they founded Pentacom, which was sold to Cisco in 2000 for $118 million, and served as executives at Cisco Israel for five years. After that they left and founded Qumranet in 2005, which in 2008 was sold to Red Hat for $115 million. They became executives at Red Hat, but then two years later left, founding Ravello in 2011. Ravello was sold to Oracle in 2016 for $450 million.

Ravello raised $54 million and had 60 employees when it was sold. Its platform enabled companies to migrate their programs onto the cloud simply, without needing to rewrite the programs, and was intended to ease organizations’ transition to cloud computing. Ravello maintained its autonomy even after the sale to Oracle, and Oracle still offers it as an independent product under its own brand name.

According to reports abroad, Oracle is currently undergoing a wave of layoffs, including at its Israeli offices.

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