Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur of the Year finalist: “Do it only if you enjoy it”

This sponsored post is part of a series of profiles on Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalists. “Kids and companies are going to ruin your life, but they’re going to ruin them in amazing ways.” That’s what I was told by Amobee’s founder and CEO, Zohar Levkovitz, who compared being an entrepreneur to being a father.

I recently sat down with Levkovitz — a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year competition — to discuss the origins of his tech career and the obstacles he had to overcome while launching one of the world’s largest mobile advertising companies.

Levkovitz developed an interest in technology out of convenience at a young age. While growing up in Israel, the only air-conditioned classroom in school was the computer lab. Looking to get out of the August heat, Levkovitz enrolled in the class, and built the foundation of his tech career. Later in life, Levkovitz developed a passion for advertising while working as a copy writer for J. Walter Thompson. When Levkovitz combined his love for advertising with his deep understanding of technology in 2005, Amobee was born.

Merging the old-school world of advertising with the new wave of mobile technology was not an easy task for Amobee. It’s one thing to establish a new company, but Levkovitz had to establish a brand-new market. Many agencies were hesitant to take money they were spending on television and print ads, and put it towards mobile phones. Not only was this a new medium for them, it was one where their success could be measured by advanced analytics, unlike the previous world of billboards and commercials. Yet, as is the case with many entrepreneurial success stories, persistence paid off, and Amobee is now an international phenomenon. One of the world’s largest mobile advertising companies, Amobee now has over 100 employees spread throughout offices in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the US.

When asked what advice he would give young entrepreneurs, Levkovitz issued words of caution towards those who start companies for the money, warning that life is too short to do something you don’t truly believe in. Like any good father, a CEO of a startup must devote his or her life to the company.

And similar to the joy he feels when he sees his daughter smiling, Levkovitz is still amazed as he watches his company grow, and continue to change the world in his own way.

Want to be the next Ernst & Young Northern California Entrepreneur Of The Year? Provide your contact information and we’ll let you know when the nomination period opens in January 2012. Fill out the form here!


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