AdRoll’s Aaron Bell Started His Career in Tech at Age 14 Leading a Project at Microsoft

Aaron Bell is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of San Francisco-based AdRoll, a marketing platform which enables brands of all sizes to build personalized ad campaigns based on their own website data. The eleven-year-old global leader in retargeting serves over 35,000 customers worldwide and boasts a 97% customer retention rate.

Prior to AdRoll, Aaron was Lead Engineer at San Mateo, Calif.-based artificial intelligence company SHAI. In his last role, the software executive oversaw projects for the NASA manned spaceflight program, including the official planning software used to set the launch date for the space shuttle.

Aaron, who grew up near Seattle in Bellevue, told the New York Times in an interview that he was a “precocious, nerdy kid drawn to computers at an early age.” At an early age, he began playing around with programs and creating his own games. Bell’s first stint in the working world was as a 14-year-old developer for global tech giant Microsoft Corp., leading its Christmas software project.

After officially interviewing at the age of 16, Aaron landed a job at Microsoft, where he worked for six years. The coder received a B.S. in computer science from Stanford University, where he was the only undergraduate advisee under the visionary AI pioneer and Emeritus Professor John McCarthy.

Bell encourages an open, honest company culture which makes a habit of “flushing out the toxins.” The CEO, who describes himself on Twitter as “the authority-ish figure @adroll,” tries to find outlets for problems and issues that build up at his company, instating routines such as weekly all-hands meetings.

AdRoll has raised nearly $90 million in funding since its launch in 2006, and has since diversified its business to include new tools like prospecting, email and data co-op. The adtech leader claims that it is profitable and seeing year-over-year growth in 2017. Last year the firm posted revenue amounting to $300 million.