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A Decade of AppLovin

Adam Foroughi
Mar 1, 2022
AppLovin 10 year anniversary

It’s been 10 years since we launched the AppLovin business. I still remember 2012 like it was yesterday. I can’t believe how quickly a decade has flown. 

When we first started, the only apps in the app stores were utility apps and our first big publisher was a birthday calendar app. I remember how excited we were to make our first $1,000 in revenue. Soon we made $5,000 and we continued to grow quickly. 

Our fast growth validated what we’d built. We were helping more developers and our business was taking off. You see, when you start a business, you always stress about whether you’ve got the right idea and if you can keep funding the business. By the end of 2012, we were profitable with a growing list of top customers, so we already knew we were onto something.

Just as important to me as business and customer success is the strong team we’ve built to make all of this possible. Some of the initial team had worked with us on projects prior to AppLovin that never took off. Others joined pre-launch. We were not VC-backed and I’m not even sure I would’ve taken that leap, but they did. I interviewed those first few folks, and they are still at AppLovin. I still remember pitching to them — Omer, Basil, Robbie, Darby, Anusha, Sonal, and others — that we would create a successful business that helped developers and would one day be a billion-dollar business. I just didn’t tell them I had no idea how.

As I reflect back on our journey, there’s a lot to be proud of. One of the things I’m proudest of is the culture we’ve built. We went on to surpass a billion-dollar valuation and now I’m confident we can build a $100 billion dollar business — if we continue to stay true to our entrepreneurial way, and keep innovating and outworking the rest. In order to do that, the key will be maintaining our culture and always keeping our customers at the center of what we do. 

Our business is very successful and there are many things that are part of the foundation that have helped us get to this place. A few things I’m incredibly proud of are:

  • When I interviewed the first 25 people at the company, I asked all of them where they wanted to be in five years. If I felt we had the capacity to help them achieve their five-year goals, we would end up being a good place for them to work. This led to a culture where all of our managers care about developing the talent around them, professionally and personally. As we’ve grown, we’ve continued to develop talent in this way. This has created a culture where everyone learns many aspects of the business so that they can contribute in many ways and learn a lot so that they can do more during their time at and even after AppLovin. This impact to our team is much more valuable than the monetary gains that come with success.
  • We surround ourselves with a diverse group of people who are hungry, who are not arrogant but are confident, and who will work hard because they believe in what we’ve built, and know how much more we can accomplish. I’m proud to say that even though we are much bigger with more people today, we continue to hire people with these same characteristics. I believe it’s a core reason why we continue to have such a close-knit culture and why we continue to retain our employees for so long.
  • We value honesty and integrity above all else. Our team is honest and we focus on our customers and their needs. We all adopt the long-term view and ensure we are delivering for the overall success of our customers’ businesses (instead of taking quick wins that might not really benefit the customer in the long run). 

These are just a few of our core values. There are plenty more that matter, but these are the ones I wanted to highlight on this, our 10th anniversary, because it’s important to me that I give recognition first and foremost to our outstanding team. I’m very proud of all we’ve built together. 

I consider many people on our team my closest friends. We’ve all sacrificed to succeed the way we have, and we’ve done that together. These journeys are incredibly rare, and while the first 10 years were quite exciting, I think the next 10 years will be even more exciting. Our opportunities are now bigger and our knowledge and experiences have set us up for even more success. 

To the best team: Thank you all for your support, hard work, and dedication over the past 10 years. I’m very honored to be able to lead us through to the next decade. 

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