A Brief History of Excite

Last September, I gave a presentation at an event called The Startup Junkie Underground about my experiences as a co-founder of Excite, which I co-founded with five of my classmates from Stanford in 1993.

We’ve all gone on to do our own things since then. I became a VC in January 2000 when I joined Mobius Venture Capital and am now in the process of launching a new fund called Foundry Group with five of my colleagues from Mobius.

Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer went on to found JotSpot, and eventually recruited yet another former Excite founder, Ben Lutch. JotSpot was acquired by Google and now Joe and Graham and Ben are back in the search engine business again, but this time at the most significant technology company to emerge in a generation. Way to go, guys!

Anyway, I threw together a set of slides for the event, complete with some great pictures from the archives (yes, that’s me with the hair) so I thought I would make it available here as a PDF.

One thing I discovered during this process is it is difficult to find old news stories and stock data for a company that is now out of business, so the preso is long on story telling and short on fancy charts and graphs with historical stock data and the like. Any suggestions on where to find that kind of info would be much appreciated. And any of my former colleagues who have additional recollections or contributions are encouraged to contact me. I’ll update and expand the presentation as I get more material to integrate into it.

For fun, I’ll also try out the SlideShare widget so you can look at it right here:

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  • Awesome slides and tidy narrative. Some of those mid-1990s homepages are intimately familiar!

  • Great presentation. Of the 4 big brands of the Internet of that time (Yahoo, Excite, Lycos and Infoseek) it is hard to believe only one survives as a major brand today.
    PS: Thanks for using Zoho! On a related tangent, in the previous bubble, the then-owner of Zoho.com burned through $50+ million in venture capital. We acquired the domain in 2004 for $5K.

  • very succinct and accurate – need to make a Google Map of the HQ locations, a total “in the valley” story