Today, we’re announcing the signing of a definitive agreement to merge Outbrain with Taboola. It’s a very exciting opening to a new chapter in a space we pioneered over 13 years ago.
We started Outbrain with a mission, which we call our Lighthouse, to provide people with a great way to discover stories that are relevant for each of them, and in which they can trust. We’ve made tremendous progress towards that Lighthouse over these 13 years, but there’s still so much more progress and innovation to be had before both of us will feel that our mission for Outbrain has been achieved.
At the most basic level, we, as our first users of Outbrain’s products, want to feel like each one of the links recommended to us is a wonderful story that we’ll truly enjoy diving into. We have so many more years worth of ideas on how to make each recommendation for each individual person more interesting and delightful.
There’s also much more to do on the word that has been paramount for our mission since the day we started: TRUST. Back in 2007, it sounded like a weird, almost hippy concept for a tech startup to adopt as a core pillar of its mission. About 10 years later, it became clear to the rest of the world, including many of the companies that came after us, how critical it is for humanity and democracy that companies affecting digital media embrace trust at the core of everything they do.
Like many other things Outbrain pioneered, our deep commitment to trust in everything we do, has been the core for us for over a decade before other companies caught on (and many of them embracing it merely as lip service only when it was financially beneficial for them). But while we’ve been well ahead of the world on this front, with a deep commitment to building the most trustworthy platform in the industry, on this front too, there’s much more for us to achieve in years to come.
When assessing our best routes for enabling our team to build this next phase of growth and innovation, it became clear that the best shot at it would be by joining forces with Taboola.
Past discussions between the companies all ended with frustrating results. In processes like this, it’s easy for all sides to climb on very high trees on every aspect of the deal – numbers, people, branding. Yet it’s very difficult to climb down those trees.
When we embarked on this process, we both decided that our mission is to finally succeed in this goal of joining forces for the greater good of both companies, our employees and our shareholders. We’d be the ones leading this process by example, by getting off those high trees and enabling the combination to finally happen.
And so here we are today!
We’re very proud to have brought Outbrain to this meaningful milestone. And assuming all the regulatory approvals are received, we’ll both be very excited to open this new chapter for Outbrain. For our team, we’re highly confident that this new chapter will unleash a ton of growth (both business and personal), technological innovation, and career opportunities.
A Few Words to Our Team
First, to our new partners from Taboola:
I want to welcome you wholeheartedly to our new, united family. There are lots that we’ve come to respect over the years about your company and execution. We look forward to bringing together the best of what each team has to offer. Both of us, and I’m sure the majority of the Outbrain team, are eager to learn from you in those areas that you do best.
Second, to our Outbrain Team:
We are both incredibly proud of the amazing team of smart, kind, and humble people that have come together to build one of the finest startup companies in the world. The culture and values we have built over the years have made the first chapter of this journey so meaningful for both of us, and, we’re sure, for many of you.
Times of transition, by definition, are times of stomach aches. As sailors, we’ve learned that the best way to handle stomach aches is not by looking at the waves, but rather looking at the horizon. So, remember that stomach aches are temporary, while the impact you can make on the world, the things you can learn, and ways your career can grow, are permanent. The most successful and happy people are usually the ones who embrace change. We urge you to follow our example, embrace the change, and make the most of this process. There are extremely few people in the world that have the opportunity to take part in a big combination like this.
Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Dispose of the negativity or cynicism of the things you don’t like in this process, and instead, we urge you, bring the very best of what you loved in Outbrain to make that the culture and values of our new, bigger company. This isn’t the end of how Outbrain used to be, but rather the beginning of how a much bigger joint company will now be in the mold of Outbrain for many years to come.
To many more years of humbly kicking ass together!
Ori & Yaron