Web Yearbook Nets Big $$$

A few years ago, two students at Montgomery High School started an online yearbook company. Today, that company is worth $100 million.

Photo by Coleman-Rayner.
Catherine Cook has gone from Georgetown student to Internet millionaire.
Photo by Coleman-Rayner.

How do you celebrate a $100 million offer for your 6-year-old website? If you’re Catherine Cook, the cofounder of myYearbook.com, you hang out with family at your niece’s first birthday party. It’s not exactly a wild blowout, but fitting somehow, given that the site was a family affair from the start.

As students at Montgomery High School in Skillman, Cook and her brother David saw a need for a digital yearbook that would also serve as a space for “social discovery”—webspeak for meeting new people. With a $250,000 investment from their older brother, Geoff, a web entrepreneur in his own right, they launched myYearbook in 2005.

Today, myYearbook is the net’s top website for teens, according to the online tracking company comScore, with 32.7 million users.

In a March 2009 article about the site in New Jersey Monthly, Cook said she planned “to take myYearbook as far as I can.” So with the impending merger, has she done that?

“Nope, not yet,” she says, sounding  like the Georgetown student she was until graduating a few months ago. She’ll be staying on with the company and she has a new set of plans: “The dream we’ve had for some time now,” she says, “is to become a global brand.” Her hope is that the merger with Quepasa.com, a Latino social network, will help edge that dream a little closer to reality.

In fact, she says, “with Quepasa, we could end up the leader in social discovery”—exactly the sort of ambitious vision you’d expect from a newly minted millionaire.

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