Mena and Ben Trott
Previous Lives: Laid-off Web designer and developer
Big Break: Created software for a personal blog Movable Type
Bottom Line: Software became an industry standard
High school sweethearts from Petaluma, Calif., Mena and Ben Trott got into blogging after losing their jobs at a small San Francisco-based Web design firm in the dot-com bust. With extra time on their hands, they developed a software tool to help Mena post her personal blog. It worked. When they put the tool online in October 2001, nearly 200 people downloaded it within the first hour.
Movable Type is a social publishing platform equipped with powerful functions that help users publish information online.
Initially working out of their apartment, the couple launched a software company, hired dozens of employees and raised over $10 million in venture capital. And as blogging took off, the tool they called Movable Type (after the Guttenberg printing press) became an industry standard.
“What had started as a hobby turned into full-time job, complete with 70 hour weeks,” Mena says on the company’s Web site.
The couple, both in their early 30s, have since added to their fortune by launching other blog publishing applications, including a successful hosting service. After the rapid growth of Movable Type, the couple says their current strategy is to build momentum slowly with a diverse line of inter-related products.
“I can’t imagine where we’ll be in a year, let alone five years,” Mena says.