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Crazy man Naval Ravikant launches Hive7, a virtual world in your browser

hive7.jpg
Naval Ravikant, the co-founder of Epinions will launch Hive7 tomorrow, the latest in about five companies that he conceived last year.

In the case of Hive7, he brainstormed the idea with Russian-born entrepreneur Max Skibinsky, funded it, and Skibinsky has since done most of the work.

In some ways, Hive7 is like another 3D virtual world that you may be familiar with, Linden Lab's Second Life, where people create avatars and chat, and walk from room, to bar, to house, or whatever.

But Hive7 is AJAXed. It is different because takes place inside your browser. It is javascript in your browser, there is no software download. So you are walking around, chatting with people, the cats are meowing, music is playing, and if you are in a room and play music, everyone else can hear it too. You can upload anything to customize your avatar and surroundings. "It's the single craziest thing that anyone has attempted to do in AJAX," Ravikant boasted to us in a phone conversation a couple of days ago. Sure, it might lack some of capabilities that you get via a download that Linden Lab gives you. But it is pushing the envelope in other ways.

Try it out. We did on the early version tonight, and it was a bit slow, perhaps because there are so many people trying it out.

Ravikant said he and Skibinsky sketched out the idea a year ago. Ravikant put in $50,000 and a friend of his, Gaurav Dhillon, put in $150,000. They hired a few coders in Russia, and now have about a dozen people. But the company still has $70,000 in the bank. That's pretty cheap work.

As for the business model, Ravikant said it is more of a "Myspace model." It depends on the uptake by users. If Hive7 gets serious users, they will think through the next steps.

We are calling him crazy because he is clearly among the more prolific guys in Silicon Valley right now. As mentioned earlier, Ravikant has been on a roll, recently settling a suit at his former company Epinions, launching Vast and participating in forming Mobber. There a couple of other projects he started last year before taking on Vast full time, including Karmus, a sort of charity effort launched around the time of the Tsunami. Typically, Ravikant says, "I'd come up with the idea for a company, recruit someone to do it with me, give them a majority of stock, and be on the board....they're hobbies."

When Ravikant joined with other employees at Epinions and sued big venture capital firms August Capital and Benchmark, some media reports said he'd never work in the valley again, he recalls. But he shrugged it off. "The beauty of the Web is that it allows you to do your own thing, without getting anyone's permission."

We see that Om has more here.


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Comments

Naval presented last night at SF Tech Sessions, he's been busy...

David Ulevitch on March 30, 2006 8:10 AM
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Naval is really crazy!!! Respect ;)

Me on March 30, 2006 1:52 PM
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The information about hive7 is grossly inaccurate here. Reader's caveat emptor. Recommend Om piece that has real facts of the story.

Max Skibnsky on April 5, 2006 6:40 PM
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Hi Max, thanks for comment, but can you fill us in? I'm willing to correct anything I got wrong. This came, as you know, directly from a conversation with Naval.

Matt Marshall on April 5, 2006 6:49 PM
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