Wow, entrepreneurial icon Martin Varsavsky wrote something nice about Mendeley on his blog last night! We immediately noticed a traffic spike and a sudden number of beta test requests rolling in. Thank you, Martin!
We met Martin a while ago at an entrepreneurs’ conference and grabbed the chance to tap into his wisdom. At age 48, he has already founded seven companies, including the biotech venture Medicorp, the telecommunication providers Viatel, Jazztel, and Ya.com, and his latest venture, fon.com, which aims to provide worldwide WiFi access for free (here’s a recent NY Times profile of both Martin and fon.com). As you can imagine, it was a very inspiring meeting for first-time founders like us.
In his blog post, Martin outlines the similarities between Last.fm, the world’s largest music community, and Mendeley:
As Last.fm tracks the music you listen to and, basing on your taste, helps you discover new music and people, Mendeley helps you manage, share and discover research papers and find new articles and people with similar research interests using a recommendation engine. Mendeley also allows you to keep track of what is going on in your research field and shows you statistics about up and coming topics and authors.
Admittedly, we need to stress that not all of these features are working in the current beta version – this is a snapshot of the (hopefully near) future rather than the current state of Mendeley. Recommendations and statistics require a certain amount of data in order to be meaningful – but as the Mendeley user base grows, the possibilities of how we can make this data useful for the research community become practically limitless!
Martin mentions another connection to Last.fm: Our all-around awesome chairman Stefan Glänzer. We’ve never formally announced his involvement, but Stefan joined us a few months ago. Besides being a former professional DJ and a successful serial entrepreneur, he helped building Last.fm as the company’s chairman, so we consider ourselves truly lucky to have him on board. Not to mention the fact that he wrote a Ph.D. thesis himself, so he’s familiar with the pain!
Jan and I knew Stefan from when he was a guest lecturer in Entrepreneurship at our alma mater, the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Together with Professors Peter Witt and Holger Ernst, he published a book about fast-growing start-up companies, to which Jan and I contributed a case study.
To top it off, two extremely talented web developers have agreed to join us, starting in July! We’ll introduce them on these pages soon…