cofounder

Oren Etzioni Could Be The Most Successful Entrepreneur You’ve Never Heard Of

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/oren-etzioni-is-one-successful-founder-2013-9

Oren Etzioni

Decide.com announced on Friday that it was being acqu-hired by eBay and would shutter its service at the end of the month.

The entire team of 26 people will now go work for eBay.

Decide.com predicts the prices on electronics and helps people pay less for them. It’s not surprising eBay would want to buy this company. Decide.com had been using eBay’s data to help with its predictions, CEO Mike Fridgen said in a blog post.

But one of the most remarkable things about this deal is that it marks the sixth-in-a-row successful exit for cofounder and CTO Oren Etzioni.

Etzioni helped invent the concept of big data back when the Web was young, way before the term “big data.” We’re talking even before Google.

Etzioni is a computer science professor at the University of Washington (and these days, also a partner at Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group). In between teaching and publishing hundreds of technical papers, he keeps creating valuable tech.

In 1994, four years before Google was born, he created one of the web’s first search engines MetaCrawler, bought by Infospace (and still running today). In 1995, he cofounded the first shopping comparison engine, NetBot, bought by Excite. Then he created ClearForest, which summarizes text documents, bought by Reuters.

In 2003, after he learned that he paid more for an airline ticket than the guy sitting next to him, he created a program that scraped travel sites to predict airfare prices. That became FareCast. It sold to Microsoft in 2008 for $110 million and is now a part of Bing.

In 2011, he took what he learned at FareCast and launched Decide.com to predict electronics prices. It was backed by Madrona (naturally) but also early Google early investor Ram Shriram and Rich Barton (cofounder of! Zillow, Expedia, Glassdoor).

Now, two years later eBay bought Decide.com. Terms weren’t disclosed, but we know that it raised about $17 million including a recent $8 million round in March that included Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen’s VC firm Vulcan Capital.

Given Etzioni’s history we’re willing to make our own prediction. He’ll be back with another successful startup and soon.

 


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Saturday, September 7th, 2013 news No Comments

This Startup Lets You ‘Date’ Prospective New Employers Anonymously For $1000+ A Week

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/group-talent-try-a-job-before-you-buy-2013-7

For most of us, a job offer is an all or nothing thing. You do a few interviews and the company either offers you the job or not. You accept it, forsaking all others, or you don’t.

But a startup called GroupTalent that finds jobs for programmers (Android, Python, Ruby developers to be precise), is turning that on its head.

Its recruitment platform supports something called a “try out” period that lets employers and employees work together for a few days, or maybe a couple of weeks, on a freelance basis for an ample weekly salary. $1,000 – $3,000 a week is typical, though GroupTalent says some folks can make as much as $7,000 a week.

The programmer is hired by a company to jump in and build something useful. If it’s a fit, the two can then get permanently hitched. This is a little different than a typical freelance gig, because these companies are looking for a long-term relationship, not just a series of short-term gigs.

And here’s the best part: GroupTalent will hide your Try It from your current employer. If it’s not a fit, there’s no harm done. “By telling us who your current employer is, we can make sure they don’t see your profile,” the company promises.

The company operates in New York and San Francisco so far, and currently hosts almost 600 jobs. It has plans to add jobs in Seattle, Boston, Austin, San Diego and Los Angeles, it says.

Today the GroupTalent website added some new improved search features, too, so it’s easier to browse the freelance jobs to see if something sparks your interest.

GroupTalent is a TechStars startup that’s raised about $1 million so far. It’s cofounder and CEO, Manuel Medina, cut his teeth at Microsoft wooing developers into writing apps for Microsoft Game Studios. He also helped convince developers to write apps for Windows Phone. Cofounder Gordon Hempton is also an ex-Microsoft developer. He worked on Microsoft’s SQL Server.

 

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Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 news No Comments

In A Dangerous Sign For VMware, PayPal Chooses Rival OpenStack (VMW)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-dangerous-sign-for-vmware-paypal-chooses-rival-openstack-2013-3

Boris Renski Mirantis

PayPal and eBay are yanking VMware software from some 80,000 servers and replacing it with the free and open-source alternative known as OpenStack, Boris Renski, OpenStack Foundation board member told Business Insider.

Renski is also a cofounder of Mirantis, an OpenStack consultant company backed by Dell and Intel. Mirantis worked with PayPal on the project, he says.

PayPal used a set of tools from Mirantis called Fuel, a PayPal spokesperson told us.

Today Mirantis released Fuel for free to the public. (In geek speak: it was released under the open source Apache 2.0 license). It’s a collection of scripts and software that helps companies deploy OpenStack.

Initially, PayPal is replacing VMware on about 10,000 computer servers. Those servers will go live this summer, Renski said. “The grand vision for project is, over time, they will replace all of their virtual infrastructure with OpenStack, not just PayPal, but PayPal and eBay, together,” Renski said. That’s about 80,000 servers across their data centers, he said.

PayPal has been a big supporter of Open Stack for a while. But this project is still dangerous territory for VMware, as PayPal could become an example of how other enterprise can replace VMware with OpenStack, too.

To be sure, enterprises are not dying to get rid of VMware, even to save money on software license fees. Most of them really love VMware’s software because it’s a reliable way to run lots of different applications on the same! compute r server.

But cloud wars are coming between different so-called “cloud operating” systems: VMware is up against OpenStack (backed by IBM, HP, Rackspace, Red Hat, others) and CloudStack (another open source project, backed by Citrix).

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Monday, March 25th, 2013 news No Comments

Absurdly Hyped Startup Airtime Has Officially Flopped And Top Execs Are Fleeing

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/absurdly-hyped-startup-airtime-has-officially-flopped-and-top-execs-are-fleeing-2012-10

Olivia Munn Airtime

Airtime, the startup with a product that connects random Facebook users in video chats, is a huge flop and its senior people are fleeing the company, Liz Gannes of All Things D reports.

CTO Eric Feng, brought in through a March acquisition, is on his way out. Cofounder Shawn Fanning is no longer day to day at the company.

It’s particularly bad news that Feng is leaving because after joining the company in March, he fired everyone who had been working on the startup’s tech before.

Airtime, which raised $33 million from Kleiner Perkins, only launched its product 12 weeks ago, but it’s already pretty obvious not many people want to use the thing. Gannes reports that it only has 11,000 daily active users. By comparison, Instagram has 11 million.

Fanning’s cofounder is Sean Parker, the guy played by Justin Timberlake in the Facebook movie. Gannes says he was the driving force behind Airtime’s weird product launch event, which was attended by all sorts of mid-level celebrities. He says this launch “worked” because it drove traffic. Uh huh.

Gannes talked to Parker, and has more quotes from him here >>

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Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 news No Comments

Caterina Fake Launches Pinwheel, Which Lets You Leave Notes Around The World

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/caterina-fake-launches-pinwheel-which-lets-you-leave-notes-around-the-world-2012-2


Caterina Fake

Caterina Fake, who previously cofounded Flickr and Hunch, has launched a new startup called Pinwheel, which lets you leave vitrtual notes around the world.

She announced the launch on her personal blog earlier today.

Enter the Internet of things, where you can choose to follow people, places or things. The notes you leave can be private, or you can share them with everything and everybody. 

The possibilities seem endless.

For instance, Fake shared a note she wrote for her friend Lauren:

note

Perhaps this would be a more useful note when you’re roaming around town: “Find me a Nearby Toilet NOW.” 

That seems to be coming soon: Fake wrote on her blog that she plans on building out a notification system so you can get pinged when someone you follow sends out a note.

We knew last year that True Ventures, SV Angel and her fund, Founder Collective, invested.

As far as making money, Fake is betting on selling sponsored notes.

The site is still in private beta — you can sign up here for an invite to try out the web and mobile app. The iOS version is coming up next.

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Friday, February 17th, 2012 news No Comments

Jessica Alba’s New Startup Will Tempt You To Buy Green Diapers

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/jessica-albas-new-startup-will-tempt-you-to-buy-green-diapers-2012-1


Meet Brian Lee, Co-Founder of Honest Company at IGNITION West!

Jessica Alba

Actress-turned-entrepreneur Jessica Alba co-founded a startup called Honest Company, an online commerce site that sells green diapers, biodegradable wipes, and other environment friendly items.

All those baby items are sold under a private label, Kara Swisher at AllThingsD reports.

Alba had a hard time finding non-toxic products, so she decided to create a marketplace for it. There’s been a lot of buzz around the launch of Honest, which has a subscription model, depending on how many baby products you need.

Alba’s cofounder is Brian Lee, who also cofounded Shoe Dazzle with Kim Kardashian, and LegalZoom with Robert Shapiro.

Don’t Miss: 10 Celebrities That Are Pouring Money Into Startups

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Thursday, January 26th, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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