Parakey: A new startup by Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt

Parakey logo

The latest issue of IEEE Spectrum features Blake Ross on the cover and a few details about his new startup Parakey cofounded with Joe Hewitt. The desktop application is described as a personal organization, editing, and sharing application. It’s designed to make the life easier for less technical users who would like to save, modify, and share information without too much hassle. (via Matt Mullenweg)

Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt have worked together in the past on the Firefox browser, breaking away from the application suite that was Mozilla Seamonkey and blazing a new path. At first there were mixed reviews and feedback about a stand-alone browser but the success of Firefox and its community has eclipsed the previous suite and its current components of Thunderbird, Sunbird and ChatZilla.

I think it’s very cool Blake unveiled his new company in IEEE, a professional association for engineers, instead of a tech blog. The four-page format in the magazine lends itself well to telling a more complete story behind the company and the motivations of its founders even if there are a couple inaccuracies within regarding open source and business profitability. Given the extremely hot brand of the phoenix that is Firefox it will be a challenge for Blake, Joe, and others to stay focused on building the product instead of fielding premature inquiries.

Parakey is a publishing platform which lives on your desktop and connects seamlessly to the web for both permissioned and global sharing. The founders hope to create more publishers with easy to use tools and permissioning options. Data lives on your desktop but you can open up and share it with the world if you choose. The software can connect to local hardware such as a digital camera to retrieve and edit photos before storing locally or on a server. The article does not discuss a business plan but I imagine a certain level of service (storage, bandwidth) will be available for free with increased allocations available for a price. The app will have basic options likely aimed at a market sweet spot but enable extensibility through a programming language named JUL (similar in name to Mozilla’s XUL but likely different in markup).

Parakey supposedly received seed funding from Doug Leone of Sequoia Capital in early 2005.