CTO Sessions: Amir Rapson, vFunction

What predictions do you have for the role of the CTO in the future? “CTOs will have to answer for the organisation’s ability to innovate. Technology is the big facilitator, and CTOs need to harness it for the business.”


Name: Amir Rapson

Company: vFunction

Job title: Co-Founder and CTO

Date started current role: June 2017

Location: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tel Aviv, Israel

Amir Rapson co-founded vFunction and serves as its CTO, overseeing technology, product and engineering. Prior to co-founding vFunction in 2017, Rapson was GM and VP R&D at WatchDox until its acquisition by Blackberry, where Rapson served as a VP of R&D. Prior to WatchDox, Rapson held R&D positions at CTERA Networks and at SofaWare (Acquired by Check Point).

What was your first job? My family owns a small factory. As a kid I used to work there during times off from school for spending money. Back then I used to buy fish for my aquarium with all the money I earned. I was never really good at saving… 

Did you always want to work in IT? I always wanted to be a physicist, like my grandfather. That is up until I was actually halfway through my masters, when I understood that my side-kick IT job was the one I really liked.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? I am a physicist by Education. I studied in Tel-Aviv university while working as a software developer, and almost completed my masters before shifting my full attention to the IT world. I also did an MBA at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. Come to think of it, I have zero formal IT or computer science education, but I’ve done alright.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. I consider IT as my only “career”, so I didn’t really take any detours. In my first company out of the army I started in a student position and ended up the interim CEO before leaving it, so pretty much no detours…

What type of CTO are you? I’m actually more of a product and people CTO than a technology CTO. I really like the technology, but I like it to build teams and products.

Which emerging technology are you most excited about the prospect of? Anything AI. I love the fact that AI opens up so many new areas in so many fields, allowing us to look at problems completely differently and invent so many cool solutions.

Are there any technologies which you think are overhyped? Why? COVID-19 made us focus on important technologies, so I actually found less overhyped technologies this year. Blockchain still remains in my mind a fascinating technology with no fitting use case.

What is one unique initiative that you’ve employed over the last 12 months that you’re really proud of? I started drinking a glass of water as soon as I get up in the morning, oh, and pilates. I love pilates.

Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasise customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? My company actually deals with digital transformation. We split applications into microservices automatically, modernising applications and accelerating digital transformation. I feel that technology leaders, CTOs and VPs of Engineering must always keep their heads above water and manage technology debt, otherwise customer experience, growth, innovation and efficiency always suffer badly.

What is the biggest issue that you’re helping customers with at the moment? We help our clients modernise their applications, break them into microservices, bring back the development velocity they lost over the years and bring back the focus on innovation and growth into their organisations.

How do you align your technology use to meet business goals? Technology is the means to innovate, and innovation is at the heart of any business goal. You need to innovate to grow, to increase customer satisfaction, and even to reduce costs. Without the right technology, you’re playing a bad hand at the big table.

Do you have any trouble matching product/service strategy with tech strategy? Not at all. I don’t believe in tech strategy without a clear sight to how it aligns with the product or business strategy.

What makes an effective tech strategy? An effective tech strategy solves the right problem the right way. Technology is an endless toolbox, so you have to pick the right tool to fit the problem.

What predictions do you have for the role of the CTO in the future? CTOs will have to answer for the organisation’s ability to innovate. Technology is the big facilitator, and CTOs need to harness it for the business. The CTO’s position in the business will become even more important than today.

What has been your greatest career achievement? I hope my greatest career achievement hasn’t happened yet!

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? Anything I did led me to where I am now, and I’m kind of happy with where I am, so I probably wouldn’t have wanted to do anything differently really.

What are you reading now? I used the COVID year to read “great novels”, like Moby Dick, Grapes of Wrath and now I’m reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Most people don't know that I… Have ADHD and proud of it.

In my spare time, I like to…Play basketball, eat and drink.

Ask me to do anything but… Stand in line.