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.
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