The story has been leaked in Sweden, ambushed and delivered first on TechCrunch by a nimble bearded French Israeli, written about, blogged, debated, tossed and turned in hundreds of places. So what can I possibly write that you don't already know?
You can read our announcement. But I thought I'd give you the story from a more personal angle... How it all started, and where it will go from here...
I first heard about Kindo when it was only an idea, a sparkle in the eye of the founders Nils and Gareth, early in 2007. Someone gave me a friendly tip -- there's a good team up in London, folks from Skype, and they're brewing up competition for you - a family tree Web site that will spread all over Europe. Take care, mate.
My curiosity stirred, and in a few months, I travelled to London specifically to meet them (of course they didn't know that, they thought I happened to be in town, only a maniac [like me] would fly 12 hours for a one-hour meeting). Nils and Gareth picked a good place for lunch in Soho. Right from the start we had great chemistry and when each of us described what we do and what we want to build, we said exactly the same things. Even face recognition for family photos, a vision of mine since 2003, that we were developing at MyHeritage intensively, was on their planned roadmap. I really liked Nils and Gareth, so lunch was on me. Kindo had not even official launched yet then. And when it did, a week or so afterwards, I found it to be a very nicely done website, with an online family tree tool that was better than anything else previously available on the Internet. I quickly instructed my team to "borrow" one or two good ideas from the Kindo tree...
With my close team of commando coding comrades, I continued building MyHeritage at ferocious speed, scarcely sleeping, and have met with several other competing companies that year. At least 4 of them. It's a great approach because a personal relationship is always a good basis for future cooperation (or should I say, acquisition and if not, then at least you can part as befriended enemies, look your competitors in the eye and treat them with mutual respect as you continue your battle with them.
On another trip of mine to London in Feb 2008 (this time I really happened to be in town), I caught up with Nils and Gareth again. This time, they invited me to their office in Putney, south-ish London. I remember the office as being very small, with a hot startup environment, just one room with everyone sitting close together and working, 6pm in the evening and the place was packed, not even one of them had called it a day and left for home. Needless to say, I liked it immediately. In my trademark psychopathic style, I always appreciate talent more, when it is coupled with supreme dedication. The walls were filled with sketches and diagrams of future Kindo products. Out of respect I kept my eyes low, I didn't want to look up and spy on what they were building, though I have to say I was quite interested. I then had the chance to meet almost everyone in the team. Our chemistry grew even better. I returned and reported my good impressions. All very young folks, not even one married among them, smart, passionate about what they do, working great together as a team, a future asset for us?
And so it came to be, that several months later we began discussions of a merger, and now it's accomplished. The entire team has joined MyHeritage and we are combining our assets. It's a great combination because Kindo brings us a fresh young spirit. A friendly voice. A love for family and family history. And a true understanding of social networking. Together, we will make MyHeritage the best place online for families. On the eve of the new year here in Israel, I wish us and our users a peaceful, successful, enjoyable, stress-free, financial-turmoil-free, family love-filled new year.
By now you have probably heard about the new photo management on MyHeritage with face recognition. It is the easiest way to organize your photo collection. It is built around what you care about most: people.
Let MyHeritage help you tag all relatives and friends on your photos in minutes and enjoy the new "face cloud" showing you the most important people in your life - or at least in your photo collection The next time you search for a photo of your best friend, or a photo showing both you and your sister, it's just one click away.
Enough talk, watch this and you will meet the team as well:
Say thanks to Jaiel for showing you around and to Steve for getting the video done.
He has coped with lots of tricky situations before but this was a particularly exciting one. Gilad gave an interview live on CNBC and shared some tidbits about how MyHeritage has become the biggest social network for families, how we plan to make money and what the next big thing in social networking is going to be.
In case you couldn't follow the CNBC news you can watch him on the CNBC website.
Today we've announced additional funding of $15 million, which will help us build even more useful services for you and your family. $15 million is a lot of money of course, but we're just as happy about the quality and expertise of our investors:
Index Ventures has invested in Skype and Accel Partners proudly holds Facebook in its investment portfolio.
Renowned newspapers like the Sunday Times and popular technology blogs such as Techcrunch have written about our funding and praised the incredible growth that MyHeritage has seen this year. By now you, our faithful users, have created more than 25 million accounts (see our world map of users as well) and added names of 260 million people into more than 5 million family trees.
Thank you for all your support so far, we're looking forward to the next chapter.
Everyone knows what it's like to have stacks and stacks of unorganized photos. We all wish we had the time to sort through them but never get around to it. If only organizing photos was more fun... and less of a chore.
With the new MyHeritage advanced photo tagging feature you can have all of the people in your photos tagged and organized in minutes. Here's how it works:
1. Upload your photos
You can upload a single photo, multiple photos, or even import them directly from your favorite photo sharing website. Currently, we support Flickr, Facebook, Myspace, Picasa, Webshots, Photobucket, Freewebs, and Windows Live. So if your pictures are already on the web you can get started right away.
2. Tag people
Once your photos are online you can quickly tag them in the 'Tag People' section of the Photos tab. Simply pick a collection, name the person in the collection, and click Save. That's it! All photos of that person are instantly tagged. The next time you go to tag your photos you will also get suggestions, making tagging that much easier.
The magic is done by MyHeritage behind the scenes. Our technology automatically detects the faces in your photos and groups them for you. So you can tag away and complete in a few seconds what would otherwise take hours.
3. Enjoy your photos
The MyHeritage photo tagging feature integrates seamlessly with your existing photo albums and family website. You can easily view all faces of anyone you've tagged and see where that person appears in the photo.
You can even view your photos directly from your family tree. Use MyHeritage to share your photos with your family and friends. Invite them to join you on your family website and you will be sharing and enjoying your photos in no time.
How is MyHeritage different?
* MyHeritage is open. You can import photos to MyHeritage from other sites, and export the tags back.
* MyHeritage is the perfect place to collaborate with your family, share photos and tag them together.
* MyHeritage supports 25 languages (sneak update: 9 more coming very soon), for families that are spread across the globe.
* MyHeritage features Face Cloud, a fun way to interact with your photos, highlighting the important people in your life.
* MyHeritage allows you to do a full search for photos within your collection or family, quickly and easily, or browse through millions of public photo albums.
Coming soon to MyHeritage
* Fully automated tagging. Turn auto-pilot on and all your new photos will be tagged!
* Export tags back to where you imported the photos. Flickr users will be delighted to use MyHeritage for tagging while keeping their photos on Flickr, and enjoying new automatic tags on Flickr.
* Tagging and face recognition API (for all you developers out there). Email BD at MyHeritage dot com for partnership inquiries.