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Sandy Jen, Founder

Sandy Jen

Thin is in! No, this isn’t about body image; it’s the evolution of software. With advancements in web browsers and scripting technologies, “thin clients” (your browser) are replacing those multi-megabyte installations with applications accessible from virtually anywhere. At the head of the pack is meebo. Founded by Sandy Jen, 25, meebo has packaged four popular instant messaging services into one web interface that looks and feels like a traditional desktop application. No installations or Alt-Tabbing between programs and windows – just quick, simple chatting anywhere the internet is. What other tricks can Sandy and meebo make your browser do? Get the scoop in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.




September 2005




Sandy Jen, Founder, 25


Silver Spring, MD

Current residence

Menlo Park, CA


B.S. Computer Science, Stanford University, 2003

Other jobs

Software Developer, Xilinx



About the company

meebo is the web’s instant messenger. It allows you to log into multiple IM networks simultaneously, from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection. The goal was to achieve a rich, software-like experience but completely on the web – no software download, no installations, no hassle.

We’ve recently expanded outside of the main service with the “meebo me” widget, which allows anyone to embed an interactive IM window on any personal webpage. It’s pretty cool because it allows you to see who’s visiting your page in real time, and either end can initiate a chat.

We launched in September of 2005 and are at now roughly 700,000 logins a day and we carry around 50 million messages a day. We’re a small team but we get a lot done :).

What are your responsibilities?

In addition to helping build the product roadmap, I’m primarily responsible for the server side development of meebo. This includes coding up new features but also architecting a scalable, robust server infrastructure to interface with the front-end.

Most notable milestones

Taking the leap and quitting my first job out of college. I had a great team there and I was a nervous wreck before I told my manager. They were super supportive and made it much easier. Launching meebo and a few months later acquiring venture funding from Sequoia Capital was the next big achievement.

What’s the niche?

I think one of meebo’s strengths is our open and honest feedback loop with our users. The vibrant community is really neat — it led to the community supplying more than 50+ language translations for meebo!

What’s in store for the future?

Cool new innovations on top of instant messaging.

Unexpected learnings along the way

People are remarkably helpful if you just ask.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

Groups or individuals who are interested in helping bring new types of IM communication to the web.

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

Don’t re-invent the wheel, use what you can and innovate from there.

Guiding principle in life

Enjoy life, take things one day at a time.

Yardstick of success

Realizing that where I am today is better than where I was yesterday.

Goal yet to be achieved

Making “meebo” a household name.

Best practical advice

Spending time thinking about doing something is never as good as just doing it.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

“I’m proud of you.”

Most memorable business experience

After standing in front the entire partnership of a top tier venture firm and pitching meebo, Seth, Elaine (my co-founders), and I got back into our car and started giggling like children because we knew we had done well.


My parents.

What motivates you for success?

Doing something meaningful (but fun).

Like best about what you do

Pushing the envelope.

Like least about what you do

I’m always “on” – the work is always on my mind and it’s hard to turn it off.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut.

Biggest pastime outside of work

Ultimate Frisbee, watching movies, spending time with friends.

Three characteristics that describe you

Hardworking, sympathetic, loyal.

Three greatest passions

Family and friends, eating good food, eating good food with family and friends.

Favorite book

I haven’t had a lot of time to read recently but for now I’d have to say Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.

Favorite cause

Woman’s right to choose.

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Interview by Han Hong
Introduction by Kaiser Shahid

Also this week

Jeanette Bustamante FernandezMurali BalajiHushidar “Hushie” Mortezaie

Don’t forget!

Non-Profit Spotlight | News2Know

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