[FoRK] [VentureBeat] KnowNow winds down

Rohit Khare khare at alumni.caltech.edu
Fri May 23 10:37:44 PDT 2008

[After all these years, I'm still not sure quite what to say, except  
'stay tuned' and 'thank you' to everyone who's ever worked so hard to  
make this all happen! Best, Rohit]


KnowNow winds down — RSS for enterprise not as easy as it looks?Matt  
Marshall | May 19th, 2008

KnowNow, a startup that sought to deliver RSS services to large  
companies, is looking to sell after failing to build a viable business.

The San Francisco company started winding down about two weeks ago,  
VentureBeat has learned, after three different CEOs took turns a the  
helm but failed to build a business out of the new technology.

A source close to the company says the underlying technology is  
valuable, and he expects a sale.

RSS grabbed a lot of attention among businesses two years ago, when  
techies began proselytizing the wonders of the protocol. RSS could  
let you subscribe to almost any kind of data. While consumers can use  
it to track their favorite news sources, there’s so many other uses  
for businesses: If your sales person kept a log of their sales, you  
could subscribe to their logs via RSS. If your biz development person  
tracked their deal progress, you pull their logs by RSS too. If your  
IT department logged traffic spike data, you could get that, and so  
on. To top it off, you could pull it all into a spreadsheet on the  
fly and mix it all up, giving you — at least in theory — a more  
efficient, quicker way to get an overview of your business and make  
better decisions.

Two years ago, when KnowNow raised $13 million in fresh capital to  
sell RSS services for the enterprise, we expressed surprise at the  
large amount of capital. RSS platforms should be relatively cheap to  
build. At the time, chief executive Todd Rulon-Miller explained  
KnowNow needed the cash because it was building products for  
companies requiring robust, secure software, such as banks. Wells  
Fargo, for example, bought one of KnowNow’s $75,000 sever licenses,  
he said. He also said at the time that KnowNow had ten other large  
customers and that deals would be announced, but apparently the  
customers never coughed up real dough. The RSS strategy, however, was  
just the last in a series of turns by the seven year old KnowNow,  
which raised more than $50 million. It was backed by big-name valley  
venture firm Kleiner Perkins, among others.

I’ve tried reaching KnowNow and Rulon-Miller, but have yet to hear back.

[Update: I'm told KnowNow made $7.5 million in revenue last year,  
though I haven't confirmed that with the company.]

NewsGator is another company seeking to serve businesses with RSS  
services, and appears to be doing somewhat better, having integrated  
with Microsoft’s Sharepoint to create an add-on product. We’re told  
large software company SAP recently replaced KnowNow’s product with  
NewsGator’s. Attensa is yet another company working in this area.

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