Two Stony Brook Alum Sell Company for $1 Billion

Two Stony Brook alum, and , are paving the way in customer service technologies. The two trailblazers have , , to Facebook for a whopping $1 billion.

As telephone calls increasingly become obsolete, businesses must answer the call to adapt. More and more customers are moving towards messaging (including Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp) to satisfy their communications needs. Every day, 175 million people contact businesses through WhatsApp. Here is where Kustomer comes into play.

Kustomer is a software company which flawlessly joins customer conversations from several channels into one, single-screen view. As such, the company is paving the way towards automated customer service relations. Effectively, Kustomer produces some of the most efficient, personalized, and profitable customer relationships to date.

Kustomer’s software gives businesses a novel approach to put customers at the heart of business. Built upon modern technology, The software is embedded in state-of-the-art artificial intelligence methods including machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, predictive analytics, and multi-dimensional neural network mappings. Such a cutting-edge approach to customer service elevates its cooperating businesses’ performance.

Eager to support its cooperating businesses with fast and available customer service, Facebook purchased Kustomer for $1 billion.Three million businesses, varying in size and purpose, actively employ Facebook as a platform to expand their markets. With Kustomer on Facebook’s platform, industry will be enlightened by the power of automated, unique messaging.

Before they revolutionized the customer service industry, Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel were just two computer science students at Stony Brook University.

Brad Birnbaum, a native of Stony Brook, is co-founder and CEO of Kustomer. Prior to college, Birnbaum was mentored by Stony Brook University faculty at Ward Melville High School. However, for the start of hiscollege career, Birnbaum attended Brandeis University. After just two years, Birnbaum departed from Brandeis and enrolled himself at Stony Brook University. For Birnbaum, the transition to Stony Brook was embraced, as the university offered him endless opportunities. 

Birnbaum was an entrepreneur even in his undergraduate years. During his first year at Stony Brook, Birnbaum kickstarted his first company in 1994. To be a student and a pioneering entrepreneur was a tall order. However, at Stony Brook, he was able to flourish in academia and in his business endeavours. Even as a computer science student, Birnbaum was able to capitalize on his passion for business and graduated in 1996.

Jeremy Suriel, co-founder and CTO at Kustomer, is a fellow Stony Brook alumnus from the class of 1997. Passionate about computer science, mathematics, and business, Suriel fit right in at Stony Brook, and looks fondly back upon his time here. At the university Suriel became equipped with the experience, skills, and knowledge needed to trailblaze the world of business.

After graduating, Birnbaum and Suriel collaborated and launched a start-up called eShare. eShare, which was released at the start of the Internet Boom, offered revolutionary messaging and customer service software to businesses. Customers of eShare were impressive industry leaders such as: AOL, Dell, and 1-800-FLOWERS. eShare was sold to a public company for $100 million in 1999. But this was just the beginning for Birnbaum and Suriel.

The two went on to found, a cloud-based product for small to medium sized businesses. The company provided simple and accessible cloud space to its business customers. This statistical analysis system allowed for dramatic product price drops, which put their customers at the forefront of business competition.’s then-unknown customers are now at the center stage of online business, including Twitter, Spotify, Pandora, and Yelp. In 2011, was bought by Salesforce for $50 million.

Together, Birnbaum and Suriel have founded and sold several companies, including Kustomer. As Stony Brook graduates, Birnbaum and Suriel came equipped with a strong technical skill set. Over 25 years of working with one another, they have come to understand exactly what businesses need with respect to customer relationship management (CRM). This background gave Birnbaum and Suriel the tools to make Kustomer such a tremendous success. 

Today, they both live with their families on Long Island. Birnbaum and Suriel remain immersed in developing disruptive enterprise technologies. They have their sights set on ever-improving customer service technologies. Entrepreneurs and innovators at heart, we have not heard the last of Birnbaum and Suriel. They are going far beyond!

-Alyssa Dey, Communications Assistant