CEO Outlook Magazine

Ari Kahn | President & CEO | Bridgeline

Ari Kahn

President & CEO

" Our approach involves identifying abstractions that unify the needs of various customers into a singular product solution. This strategy enables us to innovate effectively for today’s market and steer clear of developing products that may become obsolete. "

Inspiring Teams to Achieve Success

Visionary leaders embrace risks, recognizing the potential rewards their vision can bring and trusting in their capacity to overcome unexpected challenges. They excel in articulating this vision and unifying the teams behind it. Only some people possess the confidence to explore uncharted territory and commit to solving unprecedented problems. Exceptional leaders inspire their teams to develop the confidence needed to achieve remarkable feats, instilling a belief that the accomplishments awaiting them justify the sacrifices.

Ari Kahn, President & CEO of Bridgeline, is one such visionary leader who, with his expertise in Artificial Intelligence, is taking the company to new heights. As one of the founders in the Marketing Technology business sector, Ari’s experience in these technical fields allows him to identify opportunities to help businesses grow online revenue and direct his team to innovate with the latest technologies to create value for today’s online marketers.

Before joining Bridgeline, Ari co-founded FatWire, a leading content management and digital engagement company. As the General Manager and Chief Technology Officer of FatWire, he built the company into a global corporation with offices in 13 countries and top industry analyst ratings. After winning many of the Global-2000 as customers and growing annual revenues to more than $40 million, FatWire was acquired by Oracle in 2011 for $160 million. “Ari built Fat-Wire into a profitable market leader in Web Content Management and rewarded FatWire shareholders with over 4 times revenue valuation. His creativity and world-class computer science background make him the perfect choice to lead Bridgeline at this innovative time in Digital Experience Management and create long-term value in this market,” said Joni Kahn, Bridgeline Digital’s Chairperson of the Board of Directors when Ari was appointed as CEO of the company.

After leading that successful acquisition, Ari became chairman and CEO of the resort development company Great Land Holdings. He led the company through the 2008 recession and grew it into one of the most successful businesses in the region. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from the University of Chicago.

According to the pioneering leader, the best ideas emerge from understanding customer needs. “We uphold state-of-the-art technical expertise, yet we prioritize applying this expertise to address customer requirements,” he says. “Our approach involves identifying abstractions that unify the needs of various customers into a singular product solution. This strategy enables us to innovate effectively for today’s market and steer clear of developing products that may become obsolete.” Owing to his passion for creativity, technology, and real-world solutions, Ari looks up to entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, who have a track record of creatively connecting new technologies to practical needs. “They have gone farther and faster than anyone expected, and everyone can learn from their accomplishments,” he adds. “There are no shortcuts. Success demands hard work and the willingness to commit to goals that sometimes require a leap of faith. The adage “Necessity is the mother of invention” holds true – by placing yourself in a position where finding a solution is imperative, you will inevitably rise to the challenge.” With this mindset, Ari has been taking the company to new heights.

Bridgelinehelps customers maximize the performance of their entire eCommerceexperience – from websites and intranets to online stores and campaigns. Bridgeline’s Unbound platform deeply integrates Web Content Management, eCommerce, eMarketing, Social Media management, and Web Analytics to help marketers deliver digital experiences that attract, engage, nurture, and convert customers across all channels. Headquartered in New York, Bridgeline has thousands of quality customers that range from small- and medium-sized organizations to Fortune 500 companies.

Bridgeline’s mission is to support companies in increasing their online revenue. “I often share a favorite saying, “CEOs face two challenges: revenue and everything else.” Bridgeline addresses the first challenge—revenue. Choosing Bridgeline means gaining a partner focused on revenue growth that employs innovative AI and new technologies to devise creative solutions for growth,” explains Ari, whose team and his team have been serving clients worldwide.

Bridgeline leverages the latest advancements in artificial intelligence to identify, learn from, and understand large internal corporate information repositories. This allows Bridgeline to extract content that employees need to perform their roles more effectively. With Bridgeline’s intelligent tools, companies can manage content, customize templates, and personalize user experiences more effectively. Ari states, “Bridgeline’s expertise in streamlining large volumes of data to fuel growth for global enterprises is underscored by this latest partnership. Our features are designed to support our customers in creating effective and personalized experiences.”

The company has effectively identified and acquired small companies that needed a larger platform to succeed. These companies had synergistic customer bases and products, enabling them to grow more efficiently than when they were stand-alone. The most significant of these companies is HawkSearch, and under Ari’s leadership, Bridgeline has introduced artificial intelligence capabilities into HawkSearch, driving even more value for its customers. Moreover, Ari has linked HawkSearch, WooRank, and other products with the eCommerce360 dashboard. This integration helps customers understand the three critical components of their revenue growth—traffic, conversion, and order value—allowing them to select the appropriate Bridgeline product at the right time to maximize their revenue growth as efficiently as possible.

For instance, founded over 30 years ago, Berlin Packaging, the leading seller of rigid packaging and industrial supplies, grew dramatically, and its website became a critical marketing, branding, and sales channel. With tens of thousands of products with many different descriptions online, the company’s current onsite search engine didn’t fit their needs. After completing a comprehensive survey of the onsite search solution marketplace, Berlin Packaging chose HawkSearch for its extremely fast auto-indexing, outstanding search relevance capabilities, and marketing dashboard tools. HawkSearch empowers Berlin to provide accurate and relevant search results displaying the products customers want. A sizeable, diverse offering of items is categorized in an easy-to-find manner, and search refinement can be further achieved by such product facets as material type, cap style, color, shape, and size. HawkSearch has enabled Berlin Packaging’s customers to find the products they need very effectively and efficiently. By utilizing the HawkSearch marketing dashboard, Berlin Packaging can proactively impact customers’ search results via tools such as Relevancy Tuning, Boost & Bury, Banners, and popular searches.

The company recently launched Smart Search, an AI-based shopping assistant that helps online shoppers find the products they need (even if they do not realize they need them) by describing the problems they seek to solve. Smart Search allows shoppers to define their goals in over 50 languages, take pictures with their smartphone, or even drag a graphical brochure into a search dialogue. It uses AI Large Language Models to understand the basic concepts behind the shoppers’ goals and find products to help them. “For example, a shopper may be planning a hiking trip. The shopper can visit a sporting goods site powered by Smart Search and describe their trip (e.g., “I’m doing a 3-day hiking trip in New Zealand this June,” and Smart Search will remind you that it is winter in New Zealand and recommends buying waterproof gloves,)” elucidates Ari who believes there is a lot to accomplish with each passing day and is determined to help clients with the best available solutions.

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