NetBeans – bringing together 800 000 developers

NetBeans, the open-source Java IDE, was started in Prague in 1996 under the guidance of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University. It was later on bought by Sun Microsystems for  $10 million and gradually turned into the successful open-source integrated development environment and community.

From Xelfi to NetBeans

NetBeans was originally called Xelfi and it started as a student project in the Czech Republic in 1996. Xelfi was the first Java IDE (Integrated Development Environment) written in Java and it was released in 1997. The serial entrepreneur Roman Stanek discovered Xelfi while he was looking for a good idea to invest in.

In 1999, Sun Microsystems was searching for better Java development tools, became interested in buying NetBeans and bought NetBeans from Stanek for $10 million to Sun.

In June 2000, NetBeans became the current open-source IDE netbeans.org. Today NetBeans IDE is an open-soruce project providing support for several languages (PHP, JavaFX, C/C++, JavaScript, etc.) and frameworks, with over 18 million downloads of the NetBeans IDE to date and a community of over 800 000 participating developers.

Httpool – Slovenia’s 20 mil EUR/year hit

20 million EUR turnover for 2009. 7500+ campaigns for 1000+ referential clients since 2000. 1B+ monthly impressions on 3000+ sites. 35+ partnerships with major international networks. 60+ online media specialists. 10 offices in CEE, Germany and US. In other words, Httpool, a business started in Slovenia in 2000.

Httpool is the leading Central and Eastern European online advertising network with international reach and focus on emerging markets.

The serial entrepreneurs from Slovenia

The co-founders of Httpool are Aljoša Jenko and Andrej Nabergoj. The 2 of them have also co-founded Parsek, the Slovenian e-business solution provider, and Noovo, asocial discovery engine which will change the way people share and discover content online.

Aljoša Jenko has 10 years of experience as an entrepreneur, supervising 9 companies in the fields of software and interactive advertising as a founding partner. Prior to Httpool, Aljoša co-founded and sold 00net, the largest national indoor media network in Slovenia.

Andrej Nabergoj describes himself as a “tireless entrepreneur, start-up guy and angel investor, who started fast-growing companies in software and online media”. During the last 10 years Andrej has indeed proved tireless, co-founding and leading 6 software and internet companies with more than  +$20M in revenues, including Parsek and Parsek Japan. Andrej is also the chairman of the Yes – Young Executives Society, co-curator for the Silicon Valley TEDx and is vice-president for the Young Entrepreneurs of Europe organization. Currently, Andrej is CEO of Noovo.

Andrej’s blog is entitled “Nothing Ever Happens” as a tribute to cult artist and dream teacher, Yoshitomo Nara. This title is one of the beliefs that guided Nabergoj all through his startup founding activity. “Life is boring, so be creative and make it interesting. And also, nothing ever happens- per se. You make it happen”, explains Nabergoj.

Skype – 2.6 bil $ web success made in Estonia

There is no doubt that Skype has managed to make the world a better place. It has infinitely simplified the way we communicate internationally. Nevertheless, very few people know that the foundation of Skype, the software that allows users to make free calls over the internet, has been called by the worldwide tech press ”a real baltic success story”.

Baltic development made Skype happen

The application software Skype was initially developed by Estonian developers Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Tallinn, the same developers that have started the peer-to-peer file sharing software Kazaa. Jaan Tallinn, the main engineer behind Skype, is now a well known worldwide specialist in P2P technologies and is the only one of the 3 initial developers which is still around the company, performing various tech tasks.

Even though the company is based in Luxembourg and most of the management and marketing jobs are done in London, the main development center for Skype is in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, and this is where over 80% of the Skype employees work. Due to this successful team of web developers, Estonia is now the country, which could be called the homeland of 2 technological super achievements Skype and Kazaa. Not to mention that Hotmail is another great Estonian development success.

The sky is the limit for Skype

Skype Limited, the company that operates Skype, was founded in 2003 by the Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Zennstrom and the Danish entrepreneur Janus Friis. The name of Skype comes from the initial idea of „sky peer-to-peer”. The 2 founders have decided to hire the same successful Estonian developers that made Kazaa possible for the development of the new Skype.

eBay acquired Skype Limited in September 2005 for 2.1 billion € (2.6 billion $) and later on, during november 2009 decided to sell a majority stake of 70% to a consortium comprising Silver Lake Partners, CPPIB, Andreessen Horowitz, and the original founders.

Skype recently reached 500 million registered users worldwide and the sky seems to be the limit for the plans that Skype owners have for their business.

From Skype to Erply

For Estonia, Skype’s international success has meant more than just 3 happy Estonian engineers who earned worldwide fame. It has also meant a big push to start new successful tech startups, looking more actively at international markets, something that has been very limited until now. A recent Estonian success, Erply, won the 2009 Seedcamp and is already profitable, proves that we will be hearing more and more great things about Estonian web startups.

10 books for online entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are all about experimenting, trying out crazy new things and learning from experience rather than from theory. Just like Oscar Wilde said “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes“. Nevertheless, it can sometimes be a good idea to learn from others’ mistakes as well. And what better idea than reading books sharing experiences of successful or less successful entrepreneurs?

Sweat equity – what’s it worth?

As an entrepreneur or a wanna-be founder you probably know that one of the main challenges you will need to face in the early stages is how to allocate equity between co-founders and their very different types of contributions. A difficult task, indeed, but obviously not an impossible one.

Sink or swim? 5 men in a start-up boat

Those of you who have ever taken part in or ever considered taking part in a Seecamp or MiniSeedcamp competition have probably noticed that the organisers advise to have at least 3 and no more than 5 members in the team. Where does this magic number come from? Is 5 a meaningful number in a start-up?

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