Urchin Software Corporation

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Urchin Software Corporation was a web analytics company based in Southern California. In April 2005, the company was purchased by Google.

Corporate history

Urchin was founded by Paul Muret and Scott Crosby in December 1995 in San Diego, California. In its original incarnation, the company was called Web Depot, and built/hosted websites for various mostly San Diego companies, including the two largest private employers in the area Sharp Healthcare and Solar Turbines.

In 1998, the four principals of the company decided to jettison the hosting and design elements of the business and focus solely on the Urchin software, which had become fairly popular for its speed and efficiency at processing large web server log files. At that time, Honda had standardized on it, and EarthLink had just become a customer. Quantified then took a round of angel funding from various family members, a small venture capital firm called Green Thumb Ventures, and friends. The funding round came to approximately $1 million.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Quantified grew rapidly on the strength of both the software and large contracts secured by Giacomino (Jack) Ancone and Brett Crosby. Among their major customers were Earthlink, Verio, Cable & Wireless, Rackspace, and the ill-fated Winstar. An office was opened in Tokyo and employment reached approximately 40 total.

File:Urchin-quantified-tradeshow.jpg
Urchin founders Brett (right) and Scott Crosby (middle) with employees Paul Botto, Joahna Rocchio and Jason Senn at a trade show circa 2000.
In 2001, the company prepared to take on its A-series venture capital round, which was to be led by InnoCal Ventures and JMI Ventures. However, the September 11 attacks and other factors caused the funding to collapse. Quantified was forced to lay off approximately 15 employees, close the Tokyo office, and take out a loan from the original investors.

In 2002, the principals decided to revamp all business models and develop an in-house customer relationship management (CRM) system to keep track of things much more tightly. The Site License Model (SLM) was launched, which entailed a flat monthly rate of $5000 per physical data center, and many large hosting companies were enlisted over the next year. Money was left on the table, but stability was achieved. At the same time, the sales force was streamlined, base salaries cut, and a strong incentive plan enacted. Sales steadily rose through spring 2005, when the company was acquired by Google.

In 2003, the company changed its name to Urchin Software Corporation ("Urchin"), after the "Quantified" name failed to catch on meaningfully.

In 2004, the company repaid its angel investors the money borrowed in 2001, and became essentially debt-free. Urchin was profitable for its remaining time as an independent entity.

In August 2004 at the Search Engine Strategies trade show in San Jose, Urchin was approached by representatives of Google Inc. about a possible partnership. Urchin was acquired in April 2005.

Approximately 6 months after the acquisition, the Urchin On Demand (hosted) version of the product was renamed Google Analytics and re-launched on Google infrastructure, where it was offered for free. Due to strong demand, the service experienced overloading and new accounts were restricted for a number of months. After extensive re-engineering, the service was again opened to the public and is currently the most widely used hosted web analytics system.

Principals and key personnel

File:Urchin-gang.jpg
Urchin co-founders Scott Crosby, Jack Ancone, Brett Crosby, Paul Muret in 2001.

Co-founders:

  • Jack Ancone, Chief Financial Officer then later Vice President of Corporate Development. He is now Principal, New Business Development at Google.
  • Brett Crosby, Vice President of Business Development and later Vice President of Marketing. He is now a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Google.
  • Scott Crosby, President and later Vice President of Sales. He is now an Enterprise Business Development Manager at Google.
  • Paul Muret, who wrote the first version of the Urchin software in 1997 and was Chief Executive Officer of the company. He is now a Director of Engineering for Google.

Other employees included:

  • Paul Botto, Sales Team/Bus Dev Lead. He is now the Head of Analytics, NASO for Google.
  • Hui-Sok "Nathan" Moon, Engineering Lead. He is now a Software Engineer at Google.
  • Rolf Schreiber, Chief Integration Engineer. He is now a Software Engineer at Google.
  • Jason Senn, Partner Manager and Head of Channel Sales. He is now Enterprise Channel Development Manager, Analytics, at Google.
  • Doug Silver, head of internal systems, most notably customer relationship management. He is now a Systems Administrator at Google.
  • Jonathon Vance, co-Engineering Lead. He is now a Staff Software Engineer at Google.
  • Mike Chipman, Senior Account Executive. He left Google in August 2005 to start Actual Metrics.
  • Bartholomew Fromm, Systems Administrator. He is now a Manager in Site Reliability Engineering at Google.
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