Gil Elbaz

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Gil Elbaz is an American entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist best known for co-founding, along with Adam Weissman, Applied Semantics (ASI). He is the founder and CEO of Factual, an information-sharing startup. He is also the founder and Chairman of the Board of the Common Crawl Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to democratizing access to Internet information.


From 1987 to 1991, he attended the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where he earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in Engineering & Applied Science and Economics.


After graduation, Elbaz worked as a database engineer in the Silicon Valley for seven years. In 1998, Elbaz and his Caltech classmate Weissman founded Oingo, Inc in Santa Monica. Oingo launched at the Fall 1999 Internet World, and won the "Best of Show" Award in the category of Outstanding Internet Service.[1] Oingo launched AdSense in December 2000.[2] Oingo changed its name to Applied Semantics in 2001.[3]

In April 2003, Applied Semantics was acquired by Google for US$102 million.[4][5][6] As part of the acquisition deal, Elbaz, and over 40 members of the Applied Semantics team joined Google and became Google Santa Monica. Elbaz served as Engineering Director at Google from 2003 to 2007. In 2005, he was presented with the prestigious Founders’ Award. During his tenure at Google, Elbaz continued to work on the Applied Semantics technology and AdSense. AdSense helped establish Google’s position as a leader in online advertising and has been responsible for a substantial amount of revenue since its launch in 2005 . In Q1 2011, Google reported it earned US$2.34 billion ($9.36 billion annualized), or 28% of total revenue, through AdSense.[7]

In 2008, Elbaz founded Factual, an open data platform for application developers that leverages large scale aggregation and community exchange. Factual launched in October 2009.[8][9][10] Elbaz self-funded the company for a little while,[11] then in 2009 he raised over US$27 million from venture capital and angel investors, including the prestigious VC firms Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures and the digital technology thought-leader Esther Dyson,[12][13] who in addition to investing, sits on Factual’s Board of Advisors. As of Q4 2011, Factual employs over 40 people, provides services numerous users and partners with several companies including: Newsweek,[14] SimpleGeo,[15] MomentFeed[16] and Fwix.[17]


Elbaz is active in a number of non-profit areas. Since 2006 he has sat on the Board of Trustees for the X Prize Foundation. He is also involved in Los Angeles Social Ventures Partners[18] an organization of professionals who donate money, time and expertise to help Los Angeles area nonprofits. Elbaz is committed to the open information arena, and supports organizations such as[19]

In 2007, Elbaz founded the Common Crawl Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to building, maintaining and openly disseminating a comprehensive crawl of the Internet for the purpose of enabling a new wave of innovation, education and research. Elbaz serves as the Foundation’s President and also as a member of the Board of Directors along with Carl Malamud and Nova Spivack.

Elbaz is a supporter of his alma mater Caltech and in 2008, he was given the honor to be named Young Alumni Trustee to the Board of Trustees.


  1. ^ Beyond Keyword Searching—Oingo and Introduce Meaning-Based Searching
  2. ^ Oingo Inc. Launches AdSense; Meaning-Based Application Boosts Ad Click-Through Rates by Four Times Over Current Methods
  3. ^ Google Buys Applied Semantics
  4. ^ CNN Money - Google's next big thing?
  5. ^ Google Press Release - Google Acquires Applied Semantics
  6. ^ Business Insider
  7. ^ Google Announces First Quarter 2011 Results
  8. ^ Factual wants to be the center of the web's open data
  9. ^ GigaOM - Factual Sees Open Data As Its Future
  10. ^ TechCrunch - Factual: Applied Semantics Co-Founder Launches A Repository For Open Data
  11. ^ All Things D - Catching Up With Factual CEO Gil Elbaz
  12. ^ Big Opportunities for Startups Providing Big Data, Data-as-a-Service
  13. ^ CrunchBase - Factual
  14. ^ Factual Partners with Newsweek
  15. ^ Factual Partnership
  16. ^ Gets $1.2 Million Seed Round To Help Enterprises Manage Specials By Location
  17. ^ Fwix Builds Open Places Database
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ [2]