Gil Elbaz

Gil Elbaz


Gil is an accomplished entrepreneur and pioneer of natural language technology and structured data ecosystems. Gil is the co-founder of Applied Semantics (ASI). ASI built AdSense and other contextual advertising products. The company was acquired by Google in 2003, at which point Gil became Director of Engineering for Google’s Santa Monica office. Gil left Google to start Factual Inc., an open data platform founded to maximize data accuracy, transparency, and availability. Gil is active in a number of nonprofits including the X Prize, Caltech, and the LA Social Ventures Partners. He and his wife, Elyssa, also manage the Elbaz Family Foundation, supporting environmental and educational causes.

Hometown + Education

Grew up in San Antonio

Caltech, BS 

Founder of

Applied Semantics (acquired by Google), Factual (merged with Foursquare), Common Crawl (non-profit)

Worst moment of your early stage startup?

Our VC’s fund imploded and our lead equity holder didn't invest in our company (and clearly didn't like us)

Nerdiest thing about you

As a kid I loved numbers as much as anyone could love anything. I created a huge database of numbers and their significance

What brought you to LA?

College at Caltech. Returned to LA in '97 because LA was home and I wanted to be part of the entrepreneurial community here

What areas do you focus on as an investor?

FinTech, Data analytics, AdTech, ClimateTech

Best piece of advice you've ever gotten

Don't second guess your decisions and remind yourself that they were right for you at the time  

What tech gets you endlessly excited?

Natural language understanding models using the latest in AI/deep learning

What tech or invention did you think of first? 

At Applied Semantics, along with my brother, we invented AdSense and the concept of contextual ads

Instant deal breakers in a pitch?

When the numbers presented are off 

What do you do outside of work?

Play basketball, read and talk about tech and data (which doesn’t feel like work to me) 

Why did you co-found TenOneTen?

There's no better thing to spend time on than helping early-stage entrepreneurs shape their ideas and get to the next level!

Anything else?

Go Clippers!