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How Michael And Xochi Birch Founded BEBO – The History Of Bebo.com

You might know one of the greatest and biggest social networking sitesbebo.com, but you probably don’t know how it was started and turned into the huge world community portal it is now. It has more than 120 000 000 registered users from all around the globe and they are constantly growing. This makes it the 8th biggest social network in the world in 2011 (see top 30 social networking sites). One very interesting and inspiring story…

How www.bebo.com Was Started

Like almost every great business, bebo.com was started with almost nothing, by an American family – Michael Birch, husband and Xochi Birch, wife. This happened in their home in San Francisco in the year 2005.

Bebo.com

Bebo.com

Michael met his wife and later business partner in London, where he studied physics in the “Imperial College of London”. During that time, the dot-com bubble had been growing rapidly and many of the web entrepreneurs had been making very decent money. Watching this action, the young couple decided to try to catch the wave and launch an online business. Everything didn’t go quite well,  they quickly failed… As any self-respecting entrepreneurs, they didn’t give up. After some time, they launched another Internet company, but they had no luck too. Then they started for the third time… Believe it or not, they totally failed once again. The average person would have given up already, but this is not common for entrepreneurs. They stood up once again and launched their new project – “Birthday Alarm” – an ecards website, which is still present today. It wasn’t that successful but earned enough to cover the daily expenses of the young family.

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Michael and Xochi knew, that there is great potential in the Internet business. They continued searching for the next hot trend, and not surprisingly they found it! In that time a new social site had been started – Friendster.com. Inspired by the new social media’s quick success, Birch decided to try this out. Michael began coding a portal with similar features. After just a few weeks, Ringo – their own social site went online. Very soon the number of registered users reached more than 25 000… The growth was really fast and the family was afraid, that they couldn’t manage it. They decided to sell the site…

Having already some “social experience”, Xochi and Michael started their new project – BEBO . This happened in 2005, several years after the dot.com boom, which they had missed… The site targeted at people after their thirties and wasn’t a mania among these people initially.  But it began growing and getting more and more popular. The founders formed a great team, which was one of the main factors for success. Just a three years later, AOL offered $850 000 000 for bebo.com, there was a deal. The young family made almost $600 millions of dollars, selling their 70% stake in the company. I don’t know why maybe they just reached their dreams.

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After the financial crisis hit the world, AOL decided to sell or shut down bebo.com, because it wasn’t bringing much success to the company. In April 2010, Bebo was sold for $10 million…  It was not the greatest deal, was it? But for the new owners – Criterion Capital Partners, it was! Soon on the 9th of December, 2010, an announcement appeared that one of the founders of the site – Michael Brich was coming back on board. So, some good years might be coming soon …

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