American oleh sells e-mail service Mad Mimi to GoDaddy

Operating from half a world away hasn’t impeded Gary Levitt’s tech success as far as Internet giant is concerned

View of the Mad Mimi design dashboard interface (Photo credit: Courtesy)
View of the Mad Mimi design dashboard interface (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Gary Levitt has been running his small business e-mail service Mad Mimi remotely since he made aliyah from New York five years ago. This week his efforts were crowned with success — Levitt announced that his company has been acquired by GoDaddy, the biggest domain name registrar in the world and one of the biggest Internet services companies anywhere. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The purchase, according to GoDaddy Business Applications head Steve Aldrich, will give small businesses and independent entrepreneurs, among others, “a simple, beautiful, and powerful way to use email marketing to accomplish their goals.”

Mad Mimi, which has about 250,000 users, is similar to the much larger MailChimp, enabling small businesses to easily and quickly design e-mail newsletters and manage mailing lists, run social-media and mail campaigns, and track their on-line performance. Using a variety of layout content styling designs and interactive design tools, users can send out HTML messages, newsletters, ads, or other content – as many as three and a half million messages per month, depending on the plan, with prices ranging from free to $1000 a month.

One would think that there’s already enough the e-mail in the world – by some estimates upwards of 300 billion messages are sent each day – but apparently there’s always room for more. According to Mad Mimi, fewer than one third of businesses in the US use e-mail for marketing purposes. Aldrich says that’s unfortunate, because “e-mail is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined as a way to acquire customers,” while “the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is estimated to be at least three times that of social media.” Expanding the gospel of e-mail marketing to more small businesses is why GoDaddy bought out Mad Mimi, he noted.

Gary Levitt (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Gary Levitt (Photo credit: Courtesy)

There are all sorts of reasons GoDaddy felt that Mad Mimi was a good acquisition target, Aldrich said in a blog post. One is that “GoDaddy and Mad Mimi feel the same way about folks who start something in their garage or take the leap and strike out on their own. We love entrepreneurs.” And the company really likes Levitt, a consummate entrepreneur. Born in South Africa, he has gone through several careers, including musician and professional skateboarder, starting Mad Mimi six years ago in Brooklyn – then moving to Israel with his wife and kids a year later, running the operation remotely.

According to Levitt, presiding over an operation from 6,000 miles away may be a bit of a challenge – but it’s no barrier to success. The buyout, he said, “shows that an Israeli entrepreneur, living in Jerusalem, working with a totally remote team, can be at the top of the world in terms of software tech acquisitions. Together with GoDaddy, we’re incredibly excited to put simple and lovely e-mail marketing in front of a whole new audience and help that audience discover the beauty and efficiency of marketing this way to customers.”

Becoming a part of the Israeli tech scene has only enhanced his company’s success, Levitt said. “The diversity and energy of Israel is every bit as enticing as that of New York. I’ve mostly been here in Jerusalem while Mad Mimi has grown and developed.” Inspired by the local tech scene, said Levitt, “Mad Mimi represents another Israel success story in tech.”

“Israel’s unstoppable creativity is a big part of the modern Internet,” added Levitt. “That has been very inspiring to us, and the process of bringing GoDaddy to harness the exceptional talent here in Israel is something I’m excited to lead.”

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