David Greenspan and Aaron Iba showing off an early version of AppJet on their iPhones (summer '07)
A new YC-funded startup launched this week: AppJet, which lets you create a live web app literally in a matter of minutes. Aaron Iba and David Greenspan founded AppJet during Y Combinator's summer funding cycle. These guys are hotshot hackers and have been friends since grade school. In fact, they started a shareware videogame software company together in middle school.
Knowing each other for a long time tends to be a good recipe for
cofounders. It worked for Paul Graham and Robert Morris when they started Viaweb. Aaron and David brought on their friend J.D. Zamfirescu very early as another founder, and that was Viaweb's initial structure too: two old friends and the smartest person they knew.
AppJet is also similar to Viaweb in that the founders had to do
some technically difficult things to make their application look simple on the surface. But don't let AppJet's simple user interface fool you: running other people's programs on your server is a hard problem.
I'm not a programmer, but I am able to appreciate the difficulty
of the problem that AppJet is addressing. Being a platform in this
sense is more complicated than being one in the sense that Facebook is. Appjet's founders have the technical chops to take on this kind of problem: Aaron and J.D. were highly regarded programmers at Google before AppJet, and David is on leave from graduate school at MIT. While undergrads at MIT, David and Aaron won 1st place in the annual 6.370 programming competition.
Congratulations on the launch, guys. Who knows, maybe AppJet will make it easy enough to inspire me to learn how to code!