Or Lenchner, CEO of industry-leading public web data platform Bright Data, talks about the importance of listening to customers, employees, and the market in building a successful company.
An unconventional path to becoming CEO
Or Lenchner, left, didn’t think that one day he would be leading the world’s number one data scraping platform, especially since he didn’t take the typical CEO path. His journey to the top was certainly not conventional. In 2015, Lenchner sent an email to the co-founder of Bright sharing his feedback about the platform and suggestions for how it could be improved. To Lenchner’s surprise, he received an invitation to an in-person meeting to discuss his ideas, and from there he eventually became CEO.
“I didn’t have any aspirations to work for the company, but the meeting went so well, and I was so impressed by the innovative path these two founders took, as well as by the huge potential the data domain carries, that I literally sold all my assets the next day and joined the company as a product manager,” says Lenchner.
Bright Data now dominates the web data providers’ market. It has over 15,000 customers worldwide, many of whom are big industry names in the eCommerce, banking, travel and university sectors. “Even the most reluctant industries have now turned to web data to address the most crucial questions their respective business strategies require. This is because everything is on the web, you just need to know how to make sense of it,” claims Lenchner.
Bright Data has gone from strength to strength in recent years, turning over US$100 million in revenue last year as well as three mergers and acquisitions, the most recent being with top eCommerce digital analytics provider, Market Beyond. “We always ask ourselves: Are we providing the added value that our customers need? Are we solving all their challenges? Does our data address their toughest, most critical questions? Are we future-ready? And the answer is ‘yes’,” explains Lenchner.
Tell us about the growth of the web data industry
The web data industry is rapidly expanding. Many of our customers see web data as a modern-day necessity rather than a simple, strategic add-on. Web data is crucial for companies to make decisions in time-pressured situations, which can make all the difference to their success. Utilising web data can drive growth and increase profits enormously. Whether it is for their pricing strategy, competitors’ research or even for measuring consumers’ sentiments ahead of launching a new offer or product, web data provides the timely answers business seek today.
How does company culture drive success?
We’ve always been a customer-focused company. To drive growth, we knew that we had to address the needs of different markets and think outside of the box to achieve our business goals and ensure that we were and are meeting the demands of our customers.
Our work culture allows every employee to work autonomously. We believe that this way of working gives people the confidence and freedom to experiment, learn and innovate. Clear communication plays a huge role in this. This means directly engaging with clients to better understand their business challenges and how we can help them to overcome these challenges. This is the secret to our success and innovation.
What makes a good leader?
Being a good leader means listening to team members and giving them the freedom to manage their tasks. Listening to employee feedback is essential. The technology industry, (especially the data space), follows the split-second rule. This means we are constantly moving toward the next big innovation. Despite the fast-moving nature of it all, it is essential to take time to stop and listen closely to your team to help improve your strategy and ensure your employees feel valued.
What about giving back to society?
Yes, absolutely. As a market leader in our sector, it is up to us to set an example, which is much more than just doing business. That’s why we set up The Bright Initiative, a pro bono programme that uses data to drive positive change in the world. Examples include providing the tools for essential academic and educational research and supporting social causes, like fighting human trafficking or helping teenagers who are exposed to abuse.
Currently, we have more than 600 partners from across the world. This includes more than 50 organisations that are battling climate change and over 250 universities tackling key issues like diversity inequity in the financial sector.
What technology are you excited to make use of more?
It goes without saying but the technology behind the data collection industry is incredibly exciting. Likewise, any technology that visualises data. I’ve been analysing the way some of our customers use Bright Data’s datasets in creative ways, such as implementing Power BI on top of the datasets, so I want to spend more time coming to grips with this technology.
What are your plans for next year?
We are constantly growing and expanding our products and services. Our main priority will be to continue addressing our customers’ needs with a full data cycle service and adding value wherever possible. Also, I’m very excited for the future of web data collection as a market and industry, as more businesses realise the potential that data can bring to their future success.