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April 20, 2022updated 12 Apr 2022 4:39pm

CTO Talk: Q&A with Aviad Mor of Lumigo

The Lumigo CTO shares his thoughts on why Israel has become a tech hotbed and what people get wrong about the cloud.

By Eric Johansson

Aviad Mor is the CTO and co-founder of Lumigo, the serverless and cloud-native observability platform. The CTO and his CEO Erez Berkner launched the company in 2019.

In November 2021, the debugging platform achieved a $29m Series A round, bringing the grand total raised by the startup to $38m.

The company is one of many tech ventures to come out of Israel. Other noteworthy Israel-based startups include cybersecurity venture Snyk and email manager Mine. The Israeli tech industry raised $25.6bn in 2021, according to data from IVC Research Center. That’s up from the $10.3bn raised in 2020.

In the latest Q&A in our CTO Talks series, the Lumigo CTO shares his thoughts on why Israel has become a tech hotbed and what people get wrong about the cloud.

Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you end up in your current role?

I started out in Check Point, a leading cybersecurity company, as an engineer and progressed to leadership roles in R&D. In the last role there, I founded and led the “emerging technologies” group, putting a strong emphasis on connecting tech innovation and products. Around that time, I got interested in what was then a new technology — serverless.

I was also lucky enough to get to know Erez Berkner, the perfect co-founder since we knew we worked well together and also just happen to be great friends. As developers, we thought of some things we could build that would make other developers’ lives much easier when using serverless. The more we researched it, the more excited I got about the idea. I’m a bit of a geek in that way. The next step was to found Lumigo.

What has been the biggest challenge in getting Lumigo to the state it is in now?

Lumigo is built as a tool for everyday developers. In order to grow, we needed to get as many developers as possible to know about us. This wasn’t easy in the early days as a young start-up. At some point, we understood that the best way to get the word out there is by sharing things that we’ve learned about the technology we used. This was better than any commercial — just sharing the knowledge and expertise of the developers on our team. It turns out people were really interested in hearing the insights we uncovered.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about the cloud?

People think the cloud will take care of all of their problems. It won’t! I know nobody really thinks that, but still, sometimes I see people surprised that after they made the move to the cloud, there are still challenges in operations and development. The cloud isn’t magic, but if you do it right, you will have a lot fewer challenges than you had before the transformation.

Where did your interest in tech come from?

My family moved into a new home in Maryland around second grade and I found an old Texas Instrument PC, left there by the previous tenant. I knew I wanted to do something with it but didn’t really know what. My dad found a BASIC (coding language) manual in the box next to the PC. For weeks we sat together and studied it, writing simple programs. I was immediately hooked!

What’s one piece of advice would you offer to other CTOs?

Wherever possible, give your teams the freedom to choose the tools they need in order to get the job done. Good dev teams today know how to build and deliver fast. Generally they will also know better than anyone else what best fits their needs.

What’s the most surprising thing about your job?

It’s never the same job. From the day we founded Lumigo until today, I feel like I’ve changed my job a few times, although my title hasn’t changed. As the company grows, the teams form and the users come in, the job changes. As the saying goes – the only constant is change.

Lumigo is part of the massive wave of tech companies coming out of Israel. How has Israel become such a massive hotbed for tech innovation?

The majority of Israeli startups, like Lumigo, are built on solving difficult technological and engineering problems. While we definitely have very strong engineering talent here, I don’t think that really accounts for the outsized success — there are other places with similar talent. Where I feel like the Israeli ecosystem stands out is with the deep pioneering tradition that allows people to look past what is, and envision what could be. This contributes to a large number of highly technical founders who have a vision of how to create something better, the practical know-how of how to execute and the audacity to try.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done for fun?

When I got married, I wanted to show my wife how much I love her. But I wanted to do it in the stupidest way possible. So I made her a movie [called] Love hurts, and did all the things I hated or was terrified of including skydiving, drinking milk and hugging cats – I’m very allergic to both – you get the drift. She loved it.

What’s the most important thing happening in your field at the moment?

The maturity of serverless technologies. Most technologies start out with a lot of hype but never really get past it. We’ve been through the hype, and now we see how serverless is getting around to maturity, with a very rich ecosystem. Today it’s becoming common to see architectures rely heavily on serverless, in cutting edge startups, but also in conservative enterprises.

This will allow more developers to put their time into innovation and building their project, and less on “all the rest”.

In another life you’d be?

In a different life, I’d be an astronaut – yep, Rocket Man is one of my favorites. Who knows, maybe if I stick around long enough I’ll be able to visit Mars!