New website helps find family history

June 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is a new website that makes it simple and quick to find your own family history in the Census of 1940.

A product of Archives.com, it's also the first big success of a young Redwood Shores company called Inflection.

"What we seek to do is bridge this gap from this huge amount of billions, and billions of pieces of information becoming digital and then put it into the hands of everyday users in a simple, self-service interface online," Inflection CEO Brian Monahan said.

That simple online interface, earned Monahan's company $100 million when it was just sold to Ancestry. He founded it after walking away from a Harvard scholarship, with his brother Matthew, who left USC.

Both understood early the treasure to be mined in the mountains of information being released by government and business. So, they resolved to supply the first consumer pick-axes for miners of big data.

Last month, the brothers' model startup caught the attention of Ernst & Young. For 26 years, the accounting firm has been presenting an entrepreneur of the year award, which has become a sort of crystal ball of success. This year, the Northern California trophy went to Inflection.

"You now are seeing an incredible number of the 19-year-olds to 29-year-olds who now make up our entrepreneurs. So, definitely, there is a little bit of shifting of the age," Ernst & Young Program Director Ernie Cortez said.

Inflection's next big thing is a way to manage your personal data across all social sites.

"These are two... I'm going to call them kids, because I think their cumulative age is still below my age, but these are two gentlemen who obviously gave up something in taking a risk dropping out of prestigious universities to take on running a company," Cortez said.

"The world needs entrepreneurs to step up and solve the problems that we face. If somebody's out there that's watching us and is thinking about an idea that they want to start, recognize that if you don't do it, no one else will," Brian Monahan said.

"Do it. Go for it. Entrepreneurship is really about action, it's about risk taking, about setting aside the fears," Matthew Monahan said.

Inflection's next big thing is Identity.com, a way to manage your personal data across all social sites.


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