TechHunch Thrifty: Web 2.0 Companies Started on a Hunch and a Prayer

Location: Ralston Level:

Watch the demos of ten companies that started in the worst of times with less than $50,000. This is the New, New, New Economy where $50,000, MySQL, Rails, PHP, WordPress, Twitter, and passion go a long, long way.

Guy Kawasaki


Guy Kawasaki is a founding partner and entrepreneur-in-residence at Garage Technology Ventures. He is also the co-founder of, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web. Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. Guy is the author of nine books including Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Photo of Rashmi Sinha

Rashmi Sinha

SlideShare, Inc.

Rashmi Sinha is cofounder and CEO for SlideShare, the world’s largest professional sharing site. SlideShare is growing rapidly (more than 28 million monthly uniques) letting everyone from marketers, speakers and educators share and connect with others.

Before SlideShare, Rashmi cofounded another startup – MindCanvas – a gamelike survey platform. Rashmi has a PhD from Brown University and
has experience working with search engines and recommender systems at UC Berkeley. She is a frequent speaker at conferences such as Web
2.0 Expo and Future of Web Apps. She writes a blog at about running a startup and social software.

Jason Yan


Photo of Tony Wright

Tony Wright


Tony Wright is the co-founder and CEO of RescueTime. He founded the company in September of 2007 with a vision to allow individuals and businesses to understand how they spend their time and to help them spend it more effectively. Tony recently completed a 3 month stint at YCombinator (a startup incubation program) and has led the company to 7% week over week growth with an offering for both businesses and individuals. Prior to RescueTime, Tony founded a web startup in the recruiting space, which was acquired by in 2006. Tony served as Director of Product Development at Jobster for 1 year. Tony holds a B.S. in Psychology from Washington College.

Photo of Kevin Hale

Kevin Hale

Infinity Box Inc.

Kevin Hale is the Co-founder of Infinity Box Inc, a Y Combinator seeded company. He is responsible for safe guarding and designing the user experience of their online HTML form builder, Wufoo. Kevin writes about interface design issues for the web development blog, Particletree and served as Editor-in-Chief of the web development magazine, Treehouse. As a child, Kevin was the kid in class who who ate a box of crayons for a dollar.

Photo of Garry Tan

Garry Tan

Garry Tan is a cofounder at Posterous, a Y Combinator-funded company that was founded and launched in June of 2008. is the easiest way to publish anything (text, photos, music, video, and documents of all kinds) to the web using email. Garry loves building online communities, hacking Rails, and all things design / user experience.

Garry was previously a founding team engineer for the hedge fund analytics platform at Palantir Technologies, a program manager for Windows Mobile, and built ecommerce sites during Web 1.0 as a software engineer for Sapient and Adjacency New Media. He met his cofounder Sachin Agarwal while studying Computer Systems Engineering at Stanford, where he graduated in 2003.

Photo of Jeff Vyduna

Jeff Vyduna

Poll Everywhere

Jeff is a co-founder of Poll Everywhere, a Y Combinator startup that enables mobile participation in live events. Poll Everywhere is a low-cost Audience Response System. It allows presenters to create slides that their audience can interact with in real time using text messages or mobile web browsers.

Jeff spent four years as a technology consultant with Deloitte Consulting, and was the CIO of a Guatemalan school district for one year. He is currently on leave from the MIT Sloan MBA program. He enjoys flying small planes and skiing.

Kelly Bennett


Kelly is the COO of MightyQuiz, a Y Combinator and SKT Ventures backed start-up. MightyQuiz is a user-generated trivia game. Users answer questions on their favorite topics, share their knowledge by writing questions, and socialize around common interests. MightyQuiz is accessible on any device, can be ported to any language, and can be embedded into an existing website or social networking profile.

Prior to joining MightyQuiz, Kelly worked for Bloomingdale’s Direct in New York City where she contributed to the redesign of the Bloomingdale’s by Mail website which resulted in a nearly 100% increase in site activity. Following Bloomingdale’s, she spent three years working in sales and business development at Mutual of Omaha. Kelly graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in History and competed in the 2000 Olympic trials as a member of the Stanford women’s swim team.

Photo of Drew Houston

Drew Houston


Drew is the cofounder and CEO of Dropbox, the easiest way to store and share files online. Dropbox lets you get to your important files from any of your computers or the web. The company launched at the TechCrunch50 conference in 2008 and is backed by Sequoia Capital and Y Combinator.

Drew was named one of the top “Twentysomething Entrepreneurs” by BusinessWeek in April 2008. Before founding Dropbox, he was a lead software engineer at Bit9, a venture-backed network security company, cofounded a profitable online SAT prep company called Accolade, and held engineering roles in various startups since the age of 14. He received his S.B. in computer science from MIT.

Ryo Koyama


Prior to founding Yoics, Ryo was CEO of iReady from its founding to sale to NVIDIA. iReady was the world leader in hardware TCP/IP, and its technology was used in thousands of different products to connect to the internet. Previously, Ryo was VP of marketing and business development for Kleer Semiconductor, Chairman of Rapid, an industry consortium focused on intellectual property reuse in the semiconductor industry and a core member of the team spinning out a ubiquitous computing start up from Xerox Parc. Ryo’s also held various marketing management positions at Media Vision and Everex. Ryo holds four US patents in the areas of multimedia and networking, and was awarded a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from San Jose State University.

Co-produced By:

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  • Adobe Systems, Inc.
  • Enterprise Ireland
  • IBM
  • IDA Ireland
  • Juniper Networks
  • Microsoft
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Yahoo! Inc.
  • Accenture
  • Searchme
  • Socialtext
  • Microsoft
  • Mohr Davidow Ventures
  • New Enterprise Associates
  • Omidyar Network
  • Panorama Capital
  • Silicon Alley Insider
  • Topix
  • Wired

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