Crafting Success, Closing Deals

Muli Motola, Co-Founder and CEO at Acsense

“In the world of startups, there are two types of founders: those with a grand idea they want to sell to the world and those who spot a critical business problem and use technology to fix it.”

Muli Motola, the Co-founder and CEO of Acsense, belongs to the latter category. He has taken a unique path in his career, one that is not typical of most Israeli founders who often transition from military service to launching tech startups.

Muli’s career trajectory began when he joined EMC, a global leader in data storage and cloud computing. EMC was a giant in the tech industry, and Muli worked for the professional services team in Israel.

During his nearly 10 years at EMC, Muli gained invaluable experience, even working for companies like RSA and VMware, which were part of the larger EMC umbrella before it was acquired by Dell. This experience exposed him to the complexities of large-scale enterprise operations and customer relationships, which would prove to be essential in his entrepreneurial journey.

While working with EMC’s customers, Muli and a colleague identified a recurring challenge in the industry: identity management during the transition from private cloud to public cloud. They realised that many companies faced significant obstacles in this process, particularly when it came to security risks and technology adoption.

In response to this challenge, they decided to offer consulting services, helping companies navigate the shift to the cloud securely. This venture led them to discover Okta. They decided to represent Okta in Israel, and this partnership grew exponentially over the years, making them the largest system integrator for Okta in Israel by 2020.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The rapid growth of both the companies they were assisting and Okta itself presented its own set of challenges. Muli often found himself grappling with changes that had a cascading effect on the entire organisation. In the world of identity management, every change could potentially disrupt the entire company, and Muli experienced this firsthand.

Drawing on his earlier experiences at EMC, where he learned the importance of resilience in managing complex systems, Muli decided to take action. He and his team developed a prototype, which they named Acsense. This innovative platform aimed to address the challenges of identity management by enabling organisations to roll back configuration changes and maintain a stable and secure environment.

The response from their customer base was overwhelmingly positive, leading them to transform Acsense into a standalone company. Today, Acsense specialises in business continuity and disaster recovery solutions for Okta, serving more than a hundred customers in Israel.

Muli’s journey from a combat officer with a biology degree to the CEO of a technology startup is a testament to his adaptability, passion for learning, and commitment to leadership. His military background instilled in him the importance of trust, coaching, and adaptability within a team, qualities that have proven invaluable in his entrepreneurial endeavours.

One of the key takeaways from Muli’s story is his unique approach to hiring. While many startups prioritise experience and skills, Muli places a high value on passion, commitment, and coachability. He believes in hiring individuals who are doers, problem solvers, and autonomous thinkers. These traits, he argues, are often more important for long-term success than a laundry list of qualifications.

“I think that for somebody who’s young, who has a passion, but needs to have somebody who is a bit more experienced in this arena, it is a very specific arena, the VC world, you need to have somebody that has experience there and can connect you to the right persons.”

Muli’s journey from EMC to Acsense is a testament to the power of recognising critical business problems and leveraging one’s skills and technology to provide innovative solutions. As he continues to steer Acsense toward success, his story serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and a reminder that the path to success is often paved with resilience, adaptability, and a passion for making a difference.