“Now I smile every day”, he remarked. At 44, Rotem Yossef can be proud of his new role at ClimateAi, a startup based in Seattle in the United States with a strong mission for the climate. He manages the accounts and part of the strategy there, as director of finance and operations. A comfortable situation, moreover, for this father and his four children. A job that, through its purpose, gives even more meaning to his life.
To get here, everything happened very quickly. The fruit of a sudden decision, of awareness, in the midst of a pandemic, when Rotem Yossef was working at Amazon. He had been working for the e-commerce giant for 7 years and worked in the management of the AWS branch (Amazon’s web hosting activity). He had become the partner manager for smart cloud services, and was making a very good living. Until a big questioning crosses his mind.
“I asked myself a question that I hadn’t had to consider for a long time: what do I want to be when I grow up?”he explained, with hindsight in a discussion with a journalist from Business Insider. The media took an interest in his career as Rotem Yossef is the typical portrait of a Big Tech executive who worked for a startup with a positive impact. “For most of my career I have worked for large corporations in roles that had nothing to do with climate technology”he explained.
The rest of his story is insightful testimony to how a Big Tech executive can easily find work elsewhere. Rather than selling themselves in the eyes of the recruiters, the recruiters had to sell themselves in the eyes of Rotem Yossef. Enough to give rise to the embarrassment of choice for him, who then explained that he had discovered how much looking for a startup with a positive impact meant everything and nothing as there were so many areas.
“Climate technology is a broad field, encompassing everything from fusion energy to plant proteins, freight optimization, carbon removal and alternatives to plastic. […] I quickly realized that I had to be more specific about the type of role I wanted”. he remembers. ClimateAi, for its part, is working on artificial intelligence to offer a platform for precision and optimization of supply chains and agricultural production.
The differences between a Big Tech and a startup
Hired very quickly by the startup, Rotem Yossef remembers his beginnings and his surprise when he discovered the change in pace and culture of work at ClimateAi. The clichés were therefore true… the challenges are numerous and vary every day, everything is going very fast, and everyone is getting their hands dirty.
“Working for a startup offers the potential for more vertical career growth: it’s pure meritocracy, free from politics and rigid hierarchical structures. In no time, my responsibilities extended to managing finance, human resources, IT, legal and even part of investor relations.” he said.
Investor relations involved Rotem Yossef discovering the world of venture capital and VCs. ClimateAI is preparing its Series B, and the man quickly found himself at the heart of preparing meetings and communications with future business angels who will join the capital of the company so that it continues to grow and invest. In one year, it doubled its workforce, from 25 to 50 employees.
Rotem Yossef is one of those executives to have left Amazon at the end of the pandemic. Similarly, the director of operations of Amazon warehouses in the United States, Dave Clark, left the company last June after a 23-year career. In France, the pressure experienced by teams when the pandemic had increased online orders also took its toll. The boss of Amazon Europe Roy Perticucci resigned three years ago, as did the director of the Saran site (45), one of the most important platforms of the e-commerce giant in France.