DiModolo CEO cashes in on Viber sale
March 21, 2014
DiModolo CEO Benny Shabtai
New York--A jewelry industry CEO who was a partner in the messaging application Viber has been making headlines after the app sold for $900 million, and now says he plans to pour some of that money into his jewelry brand.
Benny Shabtai is the president and CEO of jewelry company DiModolo who got his start, and made his money, importing Raymond Weil watches into the United States.
He was a partner in Viber, which sold last month to Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. Various news outlets have reported that Shabtai and his family members will make a total of nearly $500 million on the sale of the app.
Viber is free app that allows users to make phone calls and send text messages, domestically and internationally, to other Viber users free of charge, as long as the user has a WiFi or 3G connection.
Viber has about 300 million registered users around the world, according to The New York Times, with the United States, Australia and Russia among its biggest markets.
With the nearly $1 billion sale of Viber, Shabtai says he plans to take DiModolo "to a new level." The brand is currently designing new jewelry and looking to re-position itself in the marketplace with a new advertising campaign, a spokesperson for the company said.
Shabtai founded DiModolo in 2000. The New York-based company offers designs in 18-karat yellow and white gold with diamonds and semi-precious gemstones, and also offers a sterling silver collection. Retail prices for its pieces range from $1,500 to $10,000 with some unique pieces priced at $50,000.
At one time, DiModolo had Catherine Zeta-Jones as its brand ambassador and the actress appeared in its national advertising campaign.