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Optimove Announces New CTO to Accelerate Innovative Customer Marketing Through AI

Tal Kedar to use machine learning expertise and extensive retail experience to help marketers act on data insights from their CRM

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Optimove’s Science-First Relationship Marketing Hub is a leader in the development and implementation of AI in marketing technology. The company’s position as an industry leader in the space is now set for another boost with the appointment of Tal Kedar as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Kedar will play a key role in shaping Optimove’s technology and innovation strategies as the company expands its capabilities to help marketers build a more active and loyal customer base using artificial intelligence.

Kedar brings deep experience in software development, machine learning, and retail, joining the company after spending seven years as the Director of Emerging Technologies at Sears Holdings Corporation. Before that, he served as Head of Algorithms at Fraud Sciences, a security company later acquired by PayPal, where he oversaw the use of AI for online transaction verification and fraud prevention. While most companies today use AI and machine learning as marketing buzzwords, Kedar’s experience aligns with Optimove’s academic and scientific approach to leveraging these technologies for customer marketing.

At Optimove, Kedar will focus on translating business problems into AI-fueled technology solutions. More specifically, he will be working with Optimove’s leadership to build on the current innovation roadmap and identify areas where brands can further use AI to accelerate their customer retention through data-driven, emotionally intelligent marketing.

“The opportunity to work with such extraordinarily talented and dedicated team is very compelling. The combination of deep industry expertise, together with sharp focus on creating a sophisticated AI approach actionable and intuitive to use, creates challenges that go well beyond the generic application of a few well known, standard machine learning algorithms. This creative aspect of the role is very appealing to me personally,” said Kedar who also holds a Master’s in Computational Linguistics.

He also referred to his prior experience and future challenges: “One aspect of the CTO’s role is that of a translator between business problems and opportunities and the technological approaches that would tackle them. Concretely, this means translating between a language with concepts like customer lifetime value and discounted future cash flow, propensity to churn and return on ad spend – and a language with concepts like conjugate priors, entropy, MCMC, contrastive divergence, LSTM, dimensionality reduction, etc. Having hands-on experience with a wide range of business challenges and practices – in marketing, eCommerce, and retail in general – is a tremendous asset for this aspect of the role. Good familiarity with a broad selection of fundamental algorithmic approaches, both academic and the industry’s state of the art, is extremely useful as well. I was very fortunate, in my formal studies and throughout my professional career, to have been exposed to a relatively large and diverse variety of narratives in both languages.”

“In today’s competitive market, improving customer retention should be a marketer’s number one success metric. We focus on making it easier to achieve that with a scientific approach,” said Pini Yakuel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Optimove. “Tal’s extensive background designing AI software and creating technology for one of the country’s largest retail brands is invaluable as we work to stay ahead of our clients’ needs, and enable them to go back to what they love — the art and creativity of marketing.”

This announcement comes during a banner year for Optimove. The company has recently announced record growth for 2016, including raising a first funding round of $20 million in private equity, expansion into EMEA and a 70% increase in its client base, which boasts names like 1-800-Flowers, Stitch Fix and AdoreMe. Optimove also just completed its first year in New York City, the company’s U.S. headquarters.

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