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the history of

In late 1998, Jim Coyer and I sold our first company. Flush with that success, we dreamed up a big idea which ultimatley became Sitting on the steps off my back yard in Mira Mesa, watching the sunset, drinking a couple beers, we imagined an internet service that created a win-win for online consumers who wanted to protect their privacy AND get personalized attention, as well as for web sites who need metrics on their visitors to enhance their marketing, but who have no need or desire to invade privacy.

We recruited a brilliant friend named Mark McEahern to join us from Wisconsin. At great financial risk, he did. We sweated producing the first software application on a very tight budget for four wonderful months. Thanks go to the friends and family who invested some $70,000 into those early days! Then in the spring of 1999, we were able to attract the attention of the high-tech community of San Diego. Without their support - much of it for no material gain - we would never have made it this far. Ultimately, we raised $5 million dollars in venture financing. Doug Wall, Rich Amen, Vern Yates, and Robert Kibble were all instrumental in putting the funding together and gave us unimaginable support. Two business banks also supported our vision, so thanks go to Imperial Bank and Silicon Valley Bank as well.

The newly formed board of directors was able to lure David Taylor from up north to move to San Diego and serve as our CEO. He led the formation of a sharp team which ultimately grew to 30 employees. The company publicly launched its first product in October 1999 at a New York city conference, and received immediate attention and praise from many corners: analysts, the press, and especially the public. (Click here to read some of the best reviews). Our strong stance on simplifying web privacy policies made a few enemies. But best of all, our privacy ratings made an impact, and a number of web sites changed their privacy practices in response to our self-regulatory pressure. It was great, and being interviewed by NPR and the New York Times wasn't bad either!

Then in the spring of 2000, the NASDAQ crashed, and our second round of funding dried up. While the company never went bankrupt or became insolvent, it was forced to lay off most employees - good people - while we searched for a heroic rescue. The hot and hazy summer of our quest for the M&A grail ended with us empty-handed. Ultimately, the board was forced to simply dissolve the company, pay off all the creditors, and return what few nickles remained to the investors. In short, enonymous Corporation is no more.

The remaining assets of the company were sold back to two of the founders, James Coyer and myself. So ... here we are ... still dreaming big.

Our plan is to bring back to life with our own resources. Frankly, we probably couldn't raise a new round of venture funding in the current climate, but one must wonder if that is the right strategy anyway. The assets are fully functional. The downloadable advisor, for example, works just fine and I get asked about it all the time. Hence, as of March 2001, we are going to make the program available again from this website. If a million users download and join our enonymous community, well, the whole thing might just rise again.

Tim Kane |