At 18, Daniel Gross was the youngest ever graduate from US incubator YCombinator. Now, along with co-founder Robby Walker, he’s the 19-year-old head of Greplin, a user-authorised search engine that can reach parts of your online life that Google can’t.
In the last 48 hours of his time at the incubator, after bombing out with various projects, Gross finally hit paydirt with an idea so simple it’s almost criminal. The young Israeli had a revelation one day when he pulled out his smartphone on his way to a party to pull up the address, and realised he didn’t know where the invitation was exactly – was it Facebook, Gmail, LinkedIn or somewhere else entirely?
Gross wondered, what if there were one easy way to search the whole lot in one go? Not to mention that he didn't have a single piece of information left on his laptop that he couldn't access from somewhere else.
Those insights led to Greplin, a search engine that can access Facebook, Twitter, Google Documents, Salesforce, Yammer, Basecamp and other online items. (Give it a go for yourself here.)
The name Greplin is an inside joke for nerds – 'grep' is a CS programming command for search. Gross believes it's a winner because people can pronounce it and spell it, as well as the beauty of its propensity for a little bit of geek-insider phnar-phnar.
Gross and Walker launched the site in February this year after raising nearly US$5 million in investment inside of six months.
Gmail mastermind Paul Buchheit and Square guru Chris Dixon, along with Facebook CTO Bret Taylor, have all been involved.
Last December, Greplin raised US$4 million from US venture capitalists Sequoia – it, along with Gross, is clearly one to watch.