It started in Mather House five years ago with an idea—take public records and put them online.
Now, Inflection—a technology startup that owns and operates two websites that enable users to find information about other people—is headquartered in Silicon Valley, with its co-founder, Brian Monahan, still playing a leadership role as chief strategy officer.
Monahan, who was a member of the class of 2009, founded Inflection as a sophomore at the College and achieved early success, earning over $50,000 in revenue within the first year.
“I’d always been entrepreneurial, and when I was in college, I looked for opportunities to start a small business,” he said.
When the company began taking off after his sophomore year, Monahan dropped out of school and moved in with his brother and co-founder, Matthew Monahan, in Palo Alto, Calif.
Today, Inflection employs nearly 100 people and is funded by a $30 million venture capital investment.
Inflection maintains two websites: Archives.com, a family history site that collects data on births, deaths, marriages, and divorces, and Peoplesmart.com, an online directory of people with contact information and links to social networking profiles.
The name of the company refers to the inflection point on a curve, reflecting a business model that focuses on using technology and the Internet as a means for rapid growth.
“We see the compounding of technology all around us,” Monahan said. “Twitter just started a revolution.”
Six employees at the company have attended Harvard, including Matthew L. Sundquist ’09, who shared a bathroom with Monahan when they lived in Mather.
“Brian is a remarkable, extraordinary guy,” Sundquist said. “His ability to translate his vision into the reality we have now is inspiring.”
Sundquist also noted how elements of the Harvard community have carried over into the work environment at Inflection. “Harvard encourages you to be independent and self-driven. Here, there’s very little hierarchy, and if an idea is good, it will be examined on its merit.”
Monahan says that success for today’s college graduates is dependent upon the who they surround themselves with and their ability to have fun.
“It is a great lesson to spend some time being self-aware and reflecting on what you want from your life,” said Monahan. “If you like what you do, everything you do will be a lot more powerful.”