They were the kings of the late-1990s dot-com bubble … until, of course, the bubble burst.
The dot-com crash was nearly 15 years ago. We thought it might be interesting to find out what happened to the startup founders who defined an era of unparalleled ambition and excess.
These were the guys who declined to buy a new company called “Google” for $US1 million because it seemed too expensive. The guys who threw office parties at which transvestites served White Castle burgers. The guys who complained that “Concorde was a bit cramped.”
It was a heck of a time.
The search portal Excite (or 'eXcite,' as it was styled) was founded in 1994 by a group of Stanford University students.
In 1999, Excite had a chance to buy Google, according to MinyanVille. But Excite's George Bell deemed the $US1 million asking price too high. Bell also declined a second offer to take Google for $US750,000.
The company went through a complicated skein of mergers and financings, culminating in a deal in which @Home paid $US7.2 billion for the company in 1999. By 2001 it was bankrupt.
Kraus now works at Google Ventures, where he is an investor.
Boo.com founder Ernst Malmsten once said, 'After the pampered luxury of a Lear jet 35, Concorde was a bit cramped.'
Fashion retail web site Boo.com launched in 1999. The company burned $US135 million of venture capital in 18 months, and went bankrupt in 2000.
Razorfish founders Craig Kanarick and Jeff Dachis threw a party at which transvestites served 4,000 White Castle burgers to guests.
The 1997 new office-warming party at digital ad agency Razorfish, which allegedly featured belly dancers and Krispy Kreme doughnuts (in addition to trannies with burgers), is remembered as one of the defining excesses of the late 1990s. It's safe to say that the legend is probably more apocryphal than true.
Craig Kanarick and Jeff Dachis took their company through an IPO, raising $US48 million in 1999. Razorfish was eventually acquired as part of a package by Microsoft, and then later sold to Publicis Groupe for $US530 million.
Today, Dachis is the founder of the Dachis Group, a social media analytics company.
Kanarick is now the cofounder and CEO of Mouth 'the leading online destination for indie food.'
The Globe.com's Stephan Paternot was known as 'the CEO in the plastic pants' after he was filmed in a nightclub saying, 'Got the girl. Got the money. Now I'm ready to live a disgusting, frivolous life.'
Cornell students Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman founded TheGlobe.com in 1994. It was a social network before social networks existed, and offered essentially the same things that Facebook would later. But it made no money.
TheGlobe.com went public on Nov. 13, 1998, and posted the largest first day gain of any IPO in history, a 606% increase in price. Its market cap was $US840 million. The stock collapsed next year. Paternot cashed out only $US1.5 million of his stock, and lost more of that in an investment in UrbanFetch.
Pets.com launched in August 1998. It became famous for the millions it spent on TV advertising with the Pets.com sock puppet. The company IPO-ed in February 2000 but was liquidated 268 days later.
In 2000, McLemore became a director of the International Arcade Museum.
Broadcast.com's Mark Cuban created a company that flopped, but it left him a billionaire who now owns the Dallas Mavericks.
Broadcast.com was founded to let people listen to radio broadcasts over the internet. In 1998, however, so few people had broadband access that few ever actually heard anything on the site.
In April 1999, Yahoo acquired the company for $US5.7 billion, making Mark Cuban a lot of money. But the company never took off ... and now it doesn't exist.
Cuban has used his millions to buy the Dallas NBA franchise. He was recently acquitted in an unconnected insider trading case.
GeoCities' David Bohnett created the third biggest site on the web. It no longer exists, but now he's backing Fab.com
Bohnett was one of the founders of GeoCities, which popularised the 'home page' for individuals -- a function largely usurped by Facebook a decade later. In the mid-1990s, however, it felt as if everyone on the web had a GeoCities page. Only Yahoo and AOL had more traffic than GeoCities at its height.
In January 1999, GeoCities was purchased by Yahoo for $US3.57 billion. It was never clear whether GeoCities ever actually made money.
Today, Bohnett is a tech investor. He has a stake in Fab.com, through his fund Baroda Ventures. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
Robert Levitan's Flooz burned up to $US35 million on ads featuring Whoopi Goldberg but it turned out that actual dollars were more important than Flooz web credits.
Most people remember Flooz because of its confusing ads starring Whoopi Goldberg, which encouraged people to use an alternative form of credit on the internet, which they could earn via shopping at Flooz-affiliated merchants.
Flooz, however, was a flop, and went bankrupt in 2001.
Levitan went on to found Pando networks, a peer-to-peer file sharing company, that was acquired by Microsoft for $US11 million this year.
On paper, govWorks was a great idea -- one web site where people could go to pay parking tickets and get other local government services without having to physically go to the local courthouse.
But the company, which had over 250 employees at its height, burned through $US60 million in venture capital and never made a dime. It was documented in an indie movie, Startup.com, that few actually saw.
Tuzman -- a Goldman Sachs alum -- went on to become president of JumpTV, a start-up focused on foreign Internet Protocol Television content. The company raised $US160 million in two public offerings in 2006 and 2007. Tuzman sold his stake and left the company.
Joseph's Park's Kozmo was 'the frothiest disaster of the first dotcom bubble,' according to Wired, and it burned $US250 million. But, like a zombie, it has somehow come back to life.
Kozmo offered to deliver small grocery packages -- booze, magazines, coffee -- to your door free of charge. It was founded in 1998 and was out of business in 2001.
Bizarrely, Wired -- which called it 'the frothiest disaster of the first dotcom bubble' -- reported that it may now be relaunching.
Park later became president of BibleGateway.com, part of the Christian publishing unit of HarperCollins. He is now the CEO of Bluefly, the fashion shopping website.
Bonus FAIL! ... APBnews.com's Jim Edwards went on vacation to Amsterdam, told his friends he was having the time of his life, and upon returning to New York learned his employer was bankrupt and he was out of job.
APB was founded by Mark Sauter and Marshall Davidson in 1998. The crime news service had $US104 million in funding and 140 employees at its height, including two Pulitzer Prize winners.
I was its celebrity news editor.
In the summer of 2000, APB exhausted its funding and went dark. It had $US7 million in debt and only $US50,000 in the bank.
I eventually ended up at Business Insider, of course. APB's most famous alumna is probably Michelle Gotthelf, the metro editor of the New York Post.
Sauter is now a security consultant. Davidson is now a senior advisor at KMD Studley, a commercial real estate advisory service
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