I’m Rafi Ton, Founder and CEO of BannerPlay, and This is How I Power My Business

Firmology’s How I Power My Business series profiles the technology business owners use to run and grow their business.


Firmology Founder’s Note: I’m excited about this week’s How I Power My Business guest, Rafi Ton, for two main reasons. 1) He runs BannerPlay, a DIY banner advertising solution for SMBs, which is incredibly useful for small businesses. 2) Rafi and his team are based in Israel and  I always look forward to hearing about any tech startup that stems from a country that thrives on the spirit of entrepreneurship.

After working with over 50 Israeli engineers at a startup acquired by a Fortune 100 retailer a few years ago, I was blown away by their sheer output, problem-solving mindset, and relentless pursuit of their goals. If you want to learn more about the incredible culture of innovation of Israel, I highly recommend reading Startup Nation and, of course, read about the technology Rafi uses to power BannerPlay below!

Name: Rafi Ton
Title: Founder and CEO
Company: BannerPlay
Location: Israel
Smartphone: Samsung Nexus Prime
Computer: MacBook Air
Other Gadgets: You name it – I have them all (well, not really – but you get the idea). It’s an illness, addiction and lots of fun.

What’s the story behind the businesses?

BannerPlay was created to give small businesses advertising tools like the big brands use. Small businesses generally do not use banners ads. This is due to a few reasons: 1) production cost of interactive banners is high, 2) banner media is usually provided by ad networks, 3) banner media is more complex to target than search, 4) insufficient simple analytic tools.

In order to create an online banner campaign advertisers need to engage with few different entities: designers, developers, ad networks and sometimes also with analytics service providers. As a result, SMEs turn to Google AdWords.

With BannerPlay you can:
1. Create engaging banners in just a few clicks using our online studio
2. Add interactive widgets to the banners (chat, maps, games etc)
3. Target potential customers by geography and keywords
4. Analyze and optimize the performance

What apps or services are essential to the operations of your business?

When we started BannerPlay we aimed to build the entire infrastructure in the cloud – we don’t have any physical servers. We use Amazon AWS for everything – our servers run on EC2 instances, we use SimpleDB for runtime data storage and RDS for post processing, S3 for storage, Route 53 as our DNS, CloudFront for our CDN. Our entire production, staging and development environments are in the cloud.

We have a love-hate relationship with PayPal. Loving it as users and hating it as developers. But still, it is the most commonly used service. We use Base for our sales CRM, Atlassian services to manage our agile development (JIRA), for bug tracking (Bonfire) and source control.

What apps, services or gadgets do you recommend to other business owners?

Biggest money-saver(s)?
Amazon AWS by far. Whenever I get the monthly bill from them I just remember that we spent more than $300k to build our data center and now with Amazon AWS, I pay merely a small fraction of the amount and get much more.

Favorite mobile app(s)?
Gmail to get access to emails on the go, Base to keep access our sales CRM wherever I am and Waze for navigation.

Favorite personal app(s)?
Pandora. Love music and Pandora is the best. I use Pulse for my daily dose of news and Facebook, well, for Facebooking.

How can others reach you?

Website: http://bannerplay.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rafiton
Twitter: http://twitter.com/rafiton
Email: rafi@bannerplay.com

Firmology Readers: Let’s hear your thoughts!

Do you have any questions or comments for Rafi? Drop him a note in the comments below!

If you have a suggestion for someone we should feature, questions we should be asking, or would like to be featured on Firmology’s How I Power My Business series, email contact@firmology.com with the subject line: How I Power My Business


About The Author

Rafi Ton is the Founder and CEO of BannerPlay, a DIY banner advertising solution for SMBs.