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Great Immigrants

Adi Tatarko
Cofounder and CEO, Houzz
Born in:
Israel

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Adi Tatarko grew up admiring the women in her family. Tatarko’s grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, was a fashion designer who exhibited internationally. Her mother ran her own real estate business. Although initially Tatarko had not planned to follow in their entrepreneurial footsteps, she was inspired by their capacity to balance work and raising a family. Tatarko’s own family got its start when she met her future husband, Alon Cohen, a fellow Israeli, while on vacation in Thailand. Together they launched a small technology services company in Israel, got married in 1998, and soon after moved to the United States, eventually settling in Silicon Valley. In 2006 they bought a “fixer-upper” house but struggled to find the architects and designers they needed to make their dream home a reality. By then Tatarko had left the tech sector and was working as a financial adviser while raising the couple’s young sons, but the home renovation “nightmare” led to a business idea and a new career. She was building the Houzz community to help others avoid the frustrations they had experienced with home remodeling, with Cohen writing the code to bring the project to life. In 2009 Tatarko and Cohen launched Houzz, which allows home remodeling and design professionals to share their portfolios, connecting them with consumers who are looking to remodel their homes. Today, 40 million unique users each month find design inspiration, as well as opportunities to purchase products, on Houzz.com. Tatarko is CEO of the company, which — at $4 billion — is the highest-valued business in the United States run by a female founder. Reflecting on her journey to achieve that milestone, Tatarko shared the best advice she ever received: “Don’t enter to exit. Do something for the long term.… To create something that will truly make an impact on many people or an industry? That’s the best reason to start something.”