TimBL involved in startup, Mainspring Comm.

Rohit Khare (khare@www10.w3.org)
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 11:08:28 -0500


> And Tim Berners-Lee, often referred to as the "father" of the Web,
> has signed on as a member of Mainspring's strategic advisory board.


January 28, 1997 6:15 PM ET=20
Startup information service to focus on deployment of Internet technologi=
By Margaret Kane

=A0Even though it has yet to be officially created, startup Mainspring
Communications Inc., dedicated to winnowing out crucial information on th=
deployment of Internet technologies, has snagged more than $11 million in
venture capital and enlisted companies such as Ernst & Young LLP and Reeb=
International Ltd. as beta testers.

"We're the next wave of interactive information services," said CEO John
Connoly, whose Cambridge, Mass., company will be formally launched in

Connoly calls Mainspring an interactive information service. The
subscription-based service is based on a World Web site that give users
access to a library of case studies on deploying Internet and intranet
technology, a range of articles (including those written by Mainspring's
authors and others culled from information services including O'Reilly &
Associates Inc. and MacMillan/New Riders) and chat areas where subscriber=
can consult with one another about similar problems. Currently, Mainsprin=
is in negotiations with Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. to provide content.

What will differentiate Mainspring is the way the information is organize=
Connoly said.

"We're not about aggregating content. What we're doing demands a level of
editorial input, instead of just a search engine that returns 100
articles," he said. "Our biggest competition is the time [demands]
[subscribers] have day in and day out."=20

Pricing for Mainspring will start at $495 a year for a single user, with
different deals available for larger groups. Monthly subscriptions are al=

Connoly, who said the service sprung out of his years in publishing, has
found others who agree with his vision.=20

Venture capital firms including Greylock Management and Softbank Ventures=
which owns PC Week publisher Ziff-Davis, have given the company more than
$11 million to start things going. And Tim Berners-Lee, often referred to
as the "father" of the Web, has signed on as a member of Mainspring's
strategic advisory board.

Some very large corporations have agreed to test-drive the service in a
beta program that begins Feb. 17.

"You have such a diverse set of data points for [people] to find
information. It's just too cumbersome to keep up with all those sources,"
said John Avallon, partner and managing director of the connected
enterprise solutions business unit at Ernst & Young, in Boston. "We're
looking at Mainspring being a definitive source. What you have here is
something that's a self-service training and education tool."