- Courtesy of Beeswax
- Google often makes the list of best places to work in the US.
- The three founders of ad tech startup Beeswax are all former Google executives who made the tough decision to leave.
- They each explained to Business Insider why they decided to leave the company. Among the reasons that helped them decide: finding more room to work, getting the space to have unlimited impact, and operating in an environment not ruled by engineers.
Employees routinely rank Google as one of the best workplaces in America, and deciding whether to leave the company is never an easy decision.
The three founders of the startup Beeswax, all of whom are former Google ad executives, recently explained to Business Insider how they each knew it was the right time to quit.
The trio founded Beeswax, which makes software that helps companies bid for ads online in real time, in 2015, and have since expanded to 55 employees and are outgrowing their Manhattan office. Their revenue last year was estimated at $25 million.
Before leaving to start Beeswax, chief technical officer Ram Rengaswamy worked at Google for seven years as a tech lead and software engineer on high-profile projects like Gmail.
But at Google, he said, he wasn’t able to build projects from the ground up like he wanted to.
“I kind of knew that I wasn’t growing much at Google,” he told Business Insider. “I mean, yes, there were challenging problems to solve, but there are so many smart people there who’ve done all the heavy lifting that honestly, what I felt like I was doing was taking the Lego bricks and just building stuff on top. So someone had already had done the hard work and for me I was just putting things together.”
It was a matter of “I’m inquisitive, I’m curious, and I’m not learning enough on my job,” he said.
On top of that, he said at Google it can be hard for your accomplishments to stand out, and it’s unlikely you’d get attention from higher-ups like founders Larry Page or Sergey Brin.
“It’s a big organization and there’s just so much impact a single person can have,” Rengaswamy said. “So that was another thing that would always bother me, that yeah, sure if I left Google, I don’t think Larry or Sergey would know or care or would even be aware.”
“That part always was a thing on my mind. So I think it was a combination of those two things.”
Meanwhile, Ari Paparo, Beeswax’s CEO, left Google in 2010 after two years as a director of product management. More recently, he was a product management executive at AppNexus and Bazaarvoice.
He said his decision to leave Google was more based on finding a company culture that would allow him to succeed.
“For me it was a little different,” he said. “It was that I saw myself as more of a businessperson than a technologist. And Google is very much an engineering culture, so there’s a limit to what you can get done as a businessperson.”
Beeswax’s chief product officer, Shamim Samadi, worked at Google for nine years, the longest-tenured Googler of the three. His two stints at the company included six years as a lead product manager for advertising.
Samadi said Paparo approached him with the idea for Beeswax and immediately became excited at the thought of developing the new ad technology. But more importantly, he realized he’d have to leave Google to develop it.
“I’d been feeling it in my current role and felt very much that the incumbents would have a hard time pulling it off, and for structural and infrastructure and philosophical reasons just didn’t see it as a real opportunity,” he told Business Insider. “I got really excited about the idea and then more importantly, about the team to do it with.”
Already having a strong relationship with Paparo and Rengaswamy, Samadi said he felt comfortable making his exit at Google.
“We all probably had it in the back of our heads, we want to start something at some point,” he said. “But then it comes down to, what is the idea or the area, and what is the team that you do it with? And when those two things are there, you make the leap.”