Jon is one of the most visionary thinkers about the internet that I know. I was his chief of staff while he was CEO of AOL and was privilidged enough to have a front row seat as he took AOL from a shrinking dial-up-ISP centric business into an online media business driving 40-50% advertising growth year on year. I came with him from USA Networks/IAC when he took the CEO job at AOL in 2002. He is a great big picture thinker who can see several years and several steps ahead as the industry evolves.
My partner Ravi Mhatre led our investment in Kosmix in the first institutional round (Jeff Bezos joined us as an investor in that round, and Accel joined us as an investor in a subsequent round). We introduced Kosmix to AOL‘s Search team in mid 2006, and when the deal wound its way up the AOL chain, Jon eventually met the company at the Web 2.0 conference last year. He immediately understood the huge opportunity in what Kosmix was capable of doing; using a search interface to automatically aggregate relevant web content and presents it in a familiar portal like page format. When faced with “research” type searches and topics where the user may not be familiar enough with a topic to refine search queries without some help (such as in healthcare), this is a truly better experience.
After Jon left AOL earlier this year, we were able to convince him to continue talking to Kosmix as an independant agent, and eventually brought him on to the Board. Its great to be able to work with him again.