Monday, March 2, 2009

Meebo Millionaires: Seth Sternberg, Sandy Jen, and Elaine Wherry

Meebo an Internet Millionaire Story Networth: $3.5 Million
Founders: Seth Sternberg, Sandy Jen, and Elaine Wherry
30,29 and 27

"When we put it out we did not know if anyone would like it; we just knew that it solved our problem," explains Seth Sternberg, 28, chief executive and co-founder of

The "it" in question is Meebo, a web-based instant messaging (IM) system which lets users send and receive messages from a number of different IM services, such as AOL, MSN, Yahoo and Jabber.

It is an elegant solution to the problem of having multiple accounts - many of which are not interoperable - and requiring different software downloads.

Community built

Mr Sternberg is not concerned that Meebo could be rendered obsolete if the big IM firms decided to work together and end interoperability issues.

"Yahoo and Microsoft have already made their IM network interoperable - we saw no impact.

"Meebo is a service but it has a community built around it. It is available in 59 different languages and our users did all that translating. The users felt so passionately about the product."

While he jokes about one day setting up a Meebo airline, Mr Sternberg says the priority remains to roll out essential features and to take advantage of the growing power and flexibility of the web to deliver new services.

"There are very, very few limitations to the types of software that can be run as web applications.

"Microsoft and Adobe are working on technology that will completely blur the line between whether an application comes over the web or is on the desktop."

But does he ever wish he was sitting in a cubicle at IBM, worrying about other people's budgets?

"Definitely not. When it's your own project, you are passionate about it all the time."

Sources: BBC News,


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