In May 1999, Excite, Inc., a leading portal and search engine merged with @Home, a provider of high-speed Internet access via cable lines. Together, [email protected], established itself as the leader in broadband, paving the way for broadband deployment while offering a complete "always on" Internet service worldwide.
Six Founders of Excite.com
The six founders, Mark Van Haren, Ryan McIntyre, Ben Lutch, Joe Kraus, Graham Spencer, and Martin Reinfried sat in a taqueria in Redwood City, CA, on the evening of February 28, 1993, and the idea came to them - create a software tool to manage the vast amount of information available on the Internet. "We knew that we didn't want to work for any big company," explained then-president Kraus to Red Herring magazine in early 1995. "We wanted to work together and do something entrepreneurial."
Architext Software Becomes Excite, Inc.
In October 1995, Architext launched www.excite.com. The company gained a fast and furious momentum with exclusive distribution agreements signed with Microsoft Network and Netscape. The company officially changed its name to Excite, Inc., and soon after, went public with an initial offering of 2 million shares at $17 per share. By April 1996 (IPO), the company had grown to 65 employees and hired veteran media powerhouse, George Bell, as CEO. Throughout 1998, the company continued its fast-paced growth and soon, attracted the attention of its neighbor, @Home. The high-speed cable Internet service provider was looking to create a complete service, not only offering access, but content, as well.
The @Home Story
TCI Cable exec Bruce Ravenel and legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist, John Doerr, started tossing around the notion of using cable lines for Internet connectivity. Instead of transmitting data over "narrow" phone lines, why couldn't they provide Internet access through a "fat" cable pipe? With more bandwidth, users would be able to surf the Net at unheard-of speeds.
In May 1995, Doerr and Will Hearst, another prominent venture capitalist, took the idea to Milo Medin, a brilliant young NASA networking engineer. Medin used a pen and placemat to diagram the technological challenges the duo faced. Basically, he said, the cable companies would not only have to upgrade the cable lines, but @Home would need a private, high-end private network in order to make the service viable.
The @Home Network rose to success by providing interactive services to residences and businesses via its own network architecture and a variety of transport options. @Home Network reached affiliate agreements with leading cable companies across North America, including AT&T Broadband and Internet Services, Comcast, Cox Communications and others. In addition, the company deployed its commercial @Work service in numerous major metropolitan centers across North America.
By the end of 1998, CEO Tom Jermoluk saw the competition heating up, and knew he needed more than access to retain the "first mover" position @Home enjoyed in the broadband race. He needed to look no further than his next-door neighbor, Excite, Inc. With the popular content and personalization of Excite.com, @Home would become a full-service Internet experience.
The Combined Broadband Powerhouse
By successfully merging two Internet leaders, [email protected], the leader in broadband, continues to announce major milestones, including 2.95 million broadband subscribers and 107 million registered users of the Excite Network (December 2000).
[email protected]'s vision reflects a commitment to providing home and business customers around the world with the best broadband services and an "always on" Internet connection.