It looks like the days of the well-funded secretive tech-related startup aren’t completely over. There.com has $30 million in funding, a swooshy logo, a newly-installed climbing wall, and a mysterious homepage (a la Transmeta and Red Swoosh).
I’d dismiss it as hype, if it wasn’t for three things:
1. Interesting founder. The company was founded by Will Harvey, the creator of several old Electronic Arts games, like The Immortal, Music Construction Kit, and Zany Golf. (He also ported Marble Madness to the Apple II and IIgs.)
2. Good team. David E. Weekly, the talented programmer who deconstructed the Napster protocol and helped people bypass Napster evictions and port blocking, started there at the end of March. He says that the work involves “remarkably exciting technology” and the team is “very bright.” Other notable team members are AI-expert Jeffrey Ventrella (try Brain Maze and Gene Pool), Amy Jo Kim (author of Community Building on the Web) and Organic’s old creative director, Janis Spivack.
3. They have a Vice President of Fun. (Unfortunately, it’s the same guy who helmed A Fork In The Tale, the full-motion video adventure game featuring Rob Schneider and bundled on five (!) CD-ROMs. The game was an expensive mistake, Any River Entertainment’s first and only release.)
I’m going to guess that they’re planning some sort of multi-user game community, like Habbo Hotel meets Everquest. Any guesses?
Yup, There is cool. And secret. 😉 Nice website.
A brief update: This Slashdot comment from February says they create abstracted multiplayer networking architecture for games and other applications.
I see you There.com guys talking about me on your Wiki! I wanna come in and play!
THERE is so cool. Some other notable figures at There.com include ebay’s 4th employee and Chief Scientist, Michael K. Wilson. Jessica Koppel from MPath/MPlayer is working her magic again for There. And, Brett G. Durrett, a programmer on the first SimCity, is bringing a great level of maturity to production. I can’t wait until they are public!
Brett, dear, you might want to point out your own potential lack of objectivity in this. 😉
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