In the summer of 2006 Kevin Rose was plastered on the cover of Businessweek with the headline: “How This Kid Made $60 Million In 18 Months.”The subtitle read, “Digg.com’s Kevin Rose leads a new brat pack of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.”
Sarah Lacy, now of PandoDaily, wrote that Rose was one of a handful of youngsters that made up “the new geek elite.”
And it was true. Rose and the new geek elite had achieved rock star status. Their success was a lightening rod for a new wave of Web-based sites — at the time “Web 2.0” companies. These were new consumer and media sites built with do-it-yourself social media and crowdsourced data.
A lot has changed in the last six years, so we decided to take a look at who was featured in the story and where they ended up.
Joshua Schachter sold bookmarking site Del.icio.us to Yahoo for about $31 million, landing him a job at Yahoo. In 2008, he was among a mass exodus of execs from Yahoo. A year later he landed at Google, but that job would only last a year because he 'felt like doing something new.'
Today he is CEO of a tech incubator Tasty Labs (Get it? The Delicious founder named his incubator Tasty). So far, Tasty has launched two startups: Jig a site where you say what you need and it connects you to people who can help you; skills.to, launched a few days ago. It lets you add tags to peeps in your social network.
Gaming whiz kid Dennis Fong is also known by his alias, Thresh. Before 2006, Fong was famous as a retired celebrity pro gamer. He became a 'geek elite' when his gaming company, Xfire, sold to Viacom for $102 million. This was just one of a string of startups he and his brother launched. Gamers.com sold to Ziff Davis in 2001. Lithium, run by his bro Lyle Fong, is still around and kicking.
Today Fong is CEO of Raptr, a social network for gamers that he founded in 2007.
Jeremy Stoppelman co-founded Yelp in 2004 with Russel Simmons, a former colleague at PayPal. Stoppelman is still at the helm as CEO.
He took Yelp public last month and no doubt we'll be hearing a lot more from Stoppelman as he tries to make Yelp profitable under the public's eye.
Yelp co-founder Russel Simmons left Yelp last summer, a few months before Yelp filed its S1. He hasn't really surfaced yet, though the gossip says he will probably launch another startup when he's ready.
His LinkedIn profile says that he's still available for engineering or consulting work -- anything that strikes his fancy.
Back in 2002, Levchin sold his company PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion at age 26 and by 2006 was working on Slide.com, a startup that let people create slideshows for MySpace and later offered apps for Facebook.
Google bought slide for $182 Million in 2010 then closed the doors on the site last month.
Levchin spent a year at Google and is now is an angel investor -- and chairman of the board of Yelp. As an angel, he backed Yelp. He's also invested in Pinterest and Dennis Fong's Raptr.
We wouldn't be surprised to see Levchin launch another startup sometime soon.
James Hong founded Hot or Not, a site that rated the attractiveness of people based on photos others submitted.
He sold his site for a rumoured $20 million in 2008 to Avid Life Media and since then has been living the life of an angel investor. He's got a long list of investments to his name including Max Levchin's Slide, BitTorrent and Dennis Fong's company Raptr.