8th Ring was the third company I helped start and the first company I co-founded while at Polaris.
It was an Internet/mobile mashup, a consumer mobile play connecting existing social networks to the mobile ecosystem. We started the company in the summer of 2006, more than a year before Apple’s iPhone, Facebook’s platform and Google’s OpenSocial and Android. I recruited my co-founders, CEO Bill Wittenberg from the Internet space and CTO Ted Wugofski from the mobile space. In a few months we solved some very hard technical problems which led to deep conversations with large social networks and mobile operators. Based on the feedback, we determined that, despite strong customer and partner interest, the company faced significant operating margin risks. The mobile operators simply wouldn’t let anyone partnered with them be very profitable. With just $600K into the company, Bill and I decided to shut it down. We failed quickly and cheaply, which in my book is considered a minor success (a major success is knocking the ball out of the park). Bill and Ted have gone on to do great things.