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Mirabilis (company)

From Academic Kids

Mirabilis was the name of the Israeli company that produced ICQ ("I seek you"), a popular instant messenger. Mirabilis was founded in 1996 by the four Israelis Arik Vardi, Yair Goldfinger, Sefi Vigiser and Amnon Amir, and was purchased by AOL less than two years later.

Funding for Mirabilis came from Yossi Vardi, the father of founder Arik Vardi. A businessman, the elder Vardi funded Mirabilis when no others would. He travelled frequently promoting Mirabilis and was known for publicly stating the company's revenue goal was zero.

ICQ grew rapidly virally as friends would encourage their friends to join so they could communicate to each other. This established a powerful network effect as prospective users strongly preferred the system where their friends were likely to be.

Despite having no revenue, AOL paid over $200 million to buy Mirabilis in roughly 1998.

AOL ran ICQ and AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) as independent products, which helped to create an illusion of a competitive marketplace. Eventually AIM and ICQ were merged, beginning in roughly 2001.

Mirabilis is now owned by Time Warner.

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