Carmel Valley couple’s web design company continues to grow and thrive
By Karen Billing
A Carmel Valley couple has found great success building a web design business, which started at their apartment kitchen table and now operates from a new 20,000-square-foot office building in Sorrento Valley.
Yamia and Asaf Benhaim, 32, started Internet Matrix Inc. (iMatrix) in 2001, providing turn-key websites and Internet marketing services in the specific niche markets of the chiropractic, veterinary and dental industries.
From just the two of them to now 57 employees, they moved into their new office building on May 31, with clients all over the U.S. and worldwide.
“I don’t think it could get any better,” said Yamia as Asaf knocked heartily on the wood of his desk.
The pair were both were born in Israel and have lived in the United States since they were very young. They met while in college, Yamia at UC Riverside and Asaf at UC San Diego, the handiwork of their parents’ matchmaking.
Out of college, Yamia became a top salesperson at Z57, a web design company, and Asaf was working at American Express as a financial advisor.
Asaf, a self-described “big geek,” had always been very interested in computers and web design, playing around with just the basic web tools and making his own sites. When Yamia started talking about the things she was doing at work, Asaf was intrigued. He wondered why they couldn’t be doing the same on their own.
They started to play around with the business with just friends as clients and it quickly became a passion.
“We’d work all night,” Yamia said.
“We loved it,” Asaf supplied.
While Yamia was more adventurous and wanted to strike out full time on their own, Asaf was more cautious. With some money saved up and encouragement from Asaf’s father, they went for it—operating iMatrix out of their UTC apartment, working on the kitchen table and in the spare bedroom.
They started getting too busy for their apartment, setting up 175 sites a month. The Benhaims moved their business to an office in Mira Mesa with about 15 employees for about three years. When they outgrew that, they moved their 25 employees into a Sorrento Valley building for another three years, and when they were up to 45 employees, they moved to a building in Miramar.
Last year the Miramar space was so crowded employees were working at desks in the hallways, prompting the move to their new office on Huenekkans Street in Sorrento Valley. The two-story building is decorated in a fresh, modern style and Yamia’s favorite part is the open space where they hold meetings—on fold out bleachers.
“We want it to feel like a team,” Yamia said.
Yamia splits time between the office and home, raising their four children—she had twins Talia and Liam last year to join their 4 and 6-year-old sons Noah and Nathan, who attend Ocean Air School.
Asaf said the biggest challenge they have at iMatrix is keeping up with constantly changing technology. They make it a point to stay on top of the tech side for their clients and have plans on expanding their niche fields even further.
Working side-by-side as husband and wife has come easy; in the beginning they promised each other never to talk about work outside of work but Yamia says it always seems to come up as they both enjoy it so much.
“I get to work with my best friend, business partner, my husband and the father of my four children,” said Yamia. “I couldn’t be luckier.”
“She’s what drives me, no doubt,” said Asaf.
For more information, visit imatrix.com.
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