Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry. This week we head to Berlin to meet the founders of AppLift.
Name & company:
Tim Koschella, managing director & co-founder AppLift
Kaya Taner, CEO & co-founder AppLift
In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?
TK: AppLift is a comprehensive mobile app marketing platform that empowers mobile app advertisers to acquire and re-engage quality users at scale.
What are the company’s unique selling points?
KT: Our platform accesses all supply sources in the market and resides on proprietary lifetime value optimisation technology, which enables ROI maximised user acquisition and ensures the most efficient allocation of marketing budgets across channels. Additionally, our mobile media buying platform DataLift uses data-fueled machine learning algorithms that leverage historical campaign data to determine which combinations of targeting parameters perform best.
Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?
TK: We are thrilled with the growth and progress that we have achieved over the past year - a few selected milestones were: we acquired app marketing platform appiris thereby extending our focus from games to servicing all app verticals and integrated their entire team and technology. We grew our partner base and today work with 500+ app advertisers and 5000+ media partners globally.
We also launched our new product DataLift, a unified, lifetime-value-powered mobile media buying technology. Lastly, we grew our team across Europe, North America and Asia from roughly 60 people to over 130 and recently also welcomed three seasoned mobile ad-tech industry veterans to our top management team (Maor Sadra, Gal Levenhaim, and another high-level hire who we will announce in the coming weeks).
Duration in current role:
KT: We co-founded AppLift with support from Berlin based incubator HitFox Group back 2.5 years ago. While our tasks kept consistently changing while growing the company from five to 130+ employees, our positions have been the same since day one.
Where are you based?
TK: We are a global company with a global footprint. While our headquarters are in Berlin, we operate further offices in San Francisco and Seoul. Its noteworthy to say that we are one of very few companies that managed to create one global team and culture across all of our locations - and we owe this to a truly exceptional team. I won’t reveal too much here, but I can already say that we’ll be announcing several further international offices in the upcoming months to serve our clients in the best way possible.
Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:
TK: I am also a co-founder of HitFox Group, a Berlin headquartered incubator which laid the groundwork for several successful international performance advertising companies.
KT: Before co-founding AppLift, I was one of the first key members of the HitFox Group where I also met Tim. As head of publisher relations I was there mainly responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with gaming advertisers from the online/browser space.
What are your main job responsibilities?
TK: I mainly focus on the technology and supply side of our business as well as strategic development such as M&A opportunities and cooperations. I work very closely with our CTO and VP products on disrupting the way mobile app performance marketing will be done in the future.
KT: From a high-level perspective my job involves setting the overall vision and strategy for the company. On the more operational front, I mainly oversee the demand side of our business, internationalization and marketing. I also focus on human resources and related career initiatives to make sure everybody in our team can grow to their full potential. Lastly, I manage investor relations.
Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:
TK: Well, typically mondays can be quite tough to get out of bed depending on the weekend activities before! Joking aside, I usually get up around 8am and start working before 9am, as I live just 5mins by bike from our office. The week starts with a few jourfixes I have with my direct reports to plan the priorities of the week.
We also do an all hands meeting with the entire team on mondays, including our offices in San Francisco and Seoul over a video conferencing connection in rotation every other week. Usually, Mondays tend to end pretty late going home around 9 or 10pm, but occasionally I manage to pass by the gym for an hour of sports and sauna.
KT: My Monday usually starts Sunday night when I plan and set priorities for the coming week and also make sure to finish any potentially “open” task from the previous week to start off with a clean slate. I usually get up early and get some exercise before the actual start of the day at the office. During the day I have jourfixes with my direct reports and in the late evening after our all-hands weekly company meeting I sync up with our San Francisco based team who is by then starting their day. I often finish off with a business dinner and try to hit the bed at around midnight.
What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?
TK: Facebook keeps me updated about what happens in in my friends lives while Adexchanger helps me keep up with the rapidly changing adtech industry and related news. Last but not least more classical reads such as Techcrunch and Venturebeat help me to be up to date on what happens in the wider startup community.
KT: I tend to schedule lots of lunch meetings, so at lunch hour you will probably not find me browsing websites! Generally speaking, I tend to inform myself through my feedly app which pulls in content from various sources such as AdExchanger, TechCrunch and VentureBeat into one central place.
What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?
TK: First, try to get into a startup which is in a sweet spot in a rapidly growing industry and has decent traction. Look for the people you are going to work with and make sure they are really good at what they do. Your first years are about learning as much as you can and building a network which will often mean hard work as well.
Plan your career steps ahead and try to learn the skills you will need to master the next steps. If you’re an excellent team manager of a team of five people, it is tempting to assume that you will be at least decent at managing 20. In many cases, this will lead you to underperform expectations as you will require a different set of skills to manage 20 people. So make sure you work on acquiring the necessary skills.
Last but not least, take calculated risks and be aware of the value of the professional people relationships you have built throughout your career - integrity is a necessary condition for long term success.
KT: I think the key to success in most careers will fundamentally be similar and boils down to honing your skills, building the necessary industry understanding and network and last but not least hard work every single day.
Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years’ time?
TK: I am really excited about the mobile industry and the speed in which it shapes the way we live and work. We’re living in one of the most exciting times that mankind has ever experienced. I am happy to be part of this and I am very sure I will be contributing to shape this industry with the same level of passion and dedication as today also in three years from now.
KT: Career-wise I am really excited about continuing to co-shape the developments in the still relatively young mobile space. Within the next three years I see tremendous growth opportunities for AppLift and look forward to further grow personally with each challenge on the way.
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
TK: The first 10 years of my life I grew up across several countries in Africa (Nigeria, Simbabwe, Rwanda) as my parents are engineers working for the German development aid. Although we were privileged, it was a stark contrast to the way kids grow up in industrialised countries. I think this experience is still quite influential on the way I think and act.
KT: I am an avid flamenco guitarist and truly enjoy giving concerts whenever my schedule allows it!