Get to know the team.

Gil Elbaz

Founder and CEO

Gil Elbaz is an accomplished entrepreneur and pioneer of natural language technology. Founded in 2008, Factual is Gil's second startup. In 1998, Gil co-founded Applied Semantics Inc. (ASI) which developed contextual advertising products, including ASI's AdSense. In 2003, Google acquired ASI and Gil stayed on through 2007 as the director of engineering for the Santa Monica office, continuing to work on AdSense.

Gil earned his bachelor's degree from Caltech with a double major in Engineering and Applied Science and Economics. Gil serves on the Board of Directors of the X Prize Foundation.

Bill Michels

SVP Product and Partnerships

Bill joined Factual in 2009 and is responsible for all product management and business development functions. Prior to Factual, Bill worked at Yahoo!, where he was most recently Senior Director of Product Management Yahoo! Search. In this capacity he was the GM for Yahoo! BOSS, which under him grew from inception to over +1B queries/month. Prior to that he was the Director of International Search Business Operations and Product Strategy, a +$1B P&L with 500+ employees across 15+ countries.

Other experience includes Equity Research Associate at UBS on the #1 ranked Institutional Investor telecom research team. At one point he wore a white coat and worked in a solid-state physics research lab. Bill has an MBA from Columbia University Business School and a BA in Geology from Colby College.

Boris Shimanovsky

VP of Engineering

Boris joined the Factual team in 2008 and is responsible for all engineering and technology functions. Prior to joining Factual, he was CTO at Xap, which he helped build from eight employees to a thriving business with millions of users and over a hundred employees.

When Boris was in the seventh grade and dinosaurs still roamed the earth, he took his first programming course and wrote a videogame as his first class project. His junior year in college, he built a site that quickly became the web’s 27th most trafficked and then optimized it enough to run from two machines in his den. He’s not retired now because he really wanted to graduate.

Boris holds a BS in Physiological Science and an MS in Computer Science, both from UCLA. He put himself through school working night shifts as an ambulance driver. Boris lives in Los Angeles with his badass wife and three amazing children. He is a lousy philosopher, a mediocre poet, and will someday become a great chef.

Vikas Gupta

Director of Marketing and Operations

Vikas joined Factual in 2011 and runs Factual’s marketing department. He is an active participant in trade organizations, including co-chairing the MMA’s Location Committee and co-chairing the IAB Mobile Center’s Location Data Working Group.

Prior to Factual, Vikas was at LoopNet Inc. for 3 years where he did marketing strategy and analytics for both LoopNet’s core commercial real estate business and their business for sale subsidiary BizBuySell. Prior to LoopNet he was a business analyst at McKinsey & Company where he served clients in financial services, airlines, and chemicals in a variety of capacities including strategy, operations, and post-merger management.

Vikas earned his BA (Business-Economics) and MBA from UCLA, and he occasionally returns to campus as a guest lecturer for the undergraduate economics program. He is a member of Factual’s unofficial board gaming club, an avid traveller, and a voracious reader.

Eric Lui

Director of Data Operations

As Director of Data Operations, Eric leads Factual's quirky and fearless data operations team as they build the world's best datasets. Eric joined Factual as employee #10 in 2008 and apocryphally claims all the credit for Factual's early interest in functional programming.

Previously, Eric hacked together projects at Pitzer College and two Southern California startups. During his university years, he was focused on the politics of international aid, peace, and security, and spent most of his disposable income traveling to Model UN Conferences. Eric credits his cheerful demeanor and cranky inner monologue to a summer working at Disneyland.

Eric double-majored in Political Science and Computer Science at UC Berkeley. Outside of work, he is a voracious boardgamer, over-appreciated husband, and a follower of Jesus.

Ahad Rana

Director of Engineering

As Director of Engineering, Ahad leads the team responsible for building and maintaining the software infrastructure that helps Factual crunch through the large amounts of data required to build high quality datasets. Ahad joined Factual in 2010.

Before Factual, Ahad helped lead engineering efforts at the CommonCrawl project, where he was an early adopter of Hadoop and Amazon’s EC2 platform. Prior to this, he held technical and leadership positions at Google, AOL, and others and worked on a variety of interesting projects including distributed systems, web browsers, and control systems, to name a few.

When not compensating for the ever shrinking half-life of engineering knowledge by revisiting the beauty of code-as-data in Lisp (but now Clojure), exploring Category Theory in Scala, debating the pros and cons of Rust vs. Go or Spark vs. MapReduce, or trying to comprehend which Flux framework to use, Ahad splits his remaining free time between teaching his kids stuff and exercising.

Chris Yatrakis

Sr. Director Business Development

Chris is the Head of Mobile Business Development for Factual where he is responsible for new client work with Mobile Ad Technology companies like MoPub, Turn and DoubleClick.

Prior to joining Factual in 2013, he was at Millennial Media for five years where he served in a variety of roles including Regional-Vice President and Strategic Business Development. As a key pre-IPO contributor, Chris worked closely with many early adopters of Mobile advertising including Razorfish, Universal McCann, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Best Buy, Nike, Carnival Cruises and American Airlines. Prior to Millennial, Chris worked at DoubleClick for four years in the TechSolutions team and at Ziff-Davis, PC Week for five years after serving as a media planner on NEC Technologies (back in the heady days of CD-Rom Multimedia).

Chris earned a BA in Government and Anthropology from Skidmore College and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife with whom he enjoys frequent travel to warm and sunny points of interest.

Michael Birnbach

Director of Finance and Operations

Michael joined the Factual team in 2011 and is responsible for all finance functions, as well as operations [including people operations (HR), engagement, legal, compliance, real estate, and compensation]. He is an active participant in industry trade groups, such as the Los Angeles CFO Roundtable and Index Ventures Portfolio Finance Leaders Group.

Before joining Factual, Michael analyzed and advised private equity groups on national real estate portfolio acquisitions and distributions. He also conducted private wealth management for individuals and Fortune 500 companies while at Oppenheimer and Smith Barney/Citigroup. Prior to that, Michael honed his deal-making skills in the entertainment industry, first on the agency side at ICM in the film division and then on the production side at various production companies at Warner Brothers and MGM.

Michael earned his BS in Economics from Chapman University. Michael’s other interests include tennis, real estate, biographies, and movies.

Ocean Fine

Director of Agency and Strategic Partnerships

As the Director of Agency and Strategic Partnerships, Ocean is responsible for driving awareness and adoption of Factual’s Location Targeting Ad Solutions.

A digital advertising veteran with 15 years experience working for and with agencies and brands, she loves working on the newest technologies in mobile and has a proven track record for building and growing teams that focus on all aspects of mobile channel enablement, from sales, strategy and planning to launching first to market innovative mobile companies. Before joining Factual, Ocean was Director of Sales for AT&T AdWorks, directed the Account Teams at VeriSign’s Mobile division via an acquisition of m-Qube where she helped build their Mobile Marketing client base. She started her career spending 5 years working agency client side at Euro RSCG 4D, a division of Havas Worldwide.

Ocean holds a BS in Sociology and a Masters in Communications and Media Studies, both from Clark University.

Kristian Wilson

Director of Client Services and Partner Development

Kristian leads Factual’s Account team responsible for partner onboarding operations, and growth.He is a proven leader in the digital advertising industry, most recently specializing in building custom advertising marketplaces in the mobile app space.

Kristian embodies a deep entrepreneurial spirit, with experience building companies from start-up to mature corporations. Prior to joining Factual in 2014, he was the VP of Advertising Services at Burstly which was acquired by Apple Inc. Prior to Burstly, Kristian was a founding member of Adconion Media Group, which was acquired by Amobee. Over his career, Kristian has developed deep domain experience in all facets of display and mobile advertising, including sales, operations, ad-serving and management.

Kristian holds a BSBA degree from the University of Denver, with concentration in Marketing and Management.

Brinton Harris

Sr. Director Business Development

Brinton joined Factual in 2009 as part of the original business team and now manages licensing deals for our Global Places Data.

Prior to Factual, he was the first BD hire at YuMe Inc (NYSE: YUME) where he helped launch their publisher video ad network and grew it to what was at the time the largest in the space. Other experience includes four years of business development for Yahoo! Search Marketing in Los Angeles with a focus on Health, Lifestyle, and Finance verticals, and managing digital strategy for large global brands as an Account Director for online ad agency Avenue A in New York (now Razorfish).

Brinton earned a BA of History from Yale University. He grew up in Seattle and used to enjoy camping, swimming and biking, but now he gets most of his exercise chasing his three young boys.

Matt Hersh

Head of Business Development, Enterprise

Matt joined Factual in 2013 and is the Head of Business Development, Enterprise focusing on sales, business and partnership development across some of Factual’s largest clients. Matt brings over fifteen years of pricing, operations, revenue management, marketing, and sales experience at high growth start-ups as well as at established Fortune 500 Companies. Prior to Factual, Matt was a strategic BD lead at fintech giant Yodlee (YDLE) and prior to Yodlee, Matt was a founding employee at JetBlue (JBLU).

Matt holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a BA in Economics from Boston College. When he’s not on an airplane, Matt enjoys fly-fishing, collecting old-world wine, and taking on advisory roles in the startup community.