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Business News/ Companies / People/  Lycos founder Mauldin returns to company after 17 years
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Lycos founder Mauldin returns to company after 17 years

Michael Mauldin will join the firm, which is now run by a Hyderabad-based promoter, as an independent director

Michael Mauldin, founder, Lycos.Premium
Michael Mauldin, founder, Lycos.

Michael Mauldin, founder and inventor of the 1990s Internet search engine Lycos, is returning to the company after a gap of 17 years at a time the company is reinventing itself in the wearable tech space.

Mauldin will join Lycos Internet Ltd, which is now run by a Hyderabad-based promoter and is listed on the Indian stock exchanges, as an independent director. His appointment is effective 24 August, the company said.

Mauldin quit Lycos in 1998. He co-founded artificial intelligence firm Conversive Inc. with digital entertainment expert Peter Plantec in 1998 and was on its board till 2013 for a little while after it was bought by Avaya Inc. in 2012.

“Twenty years ago, Lycos changed the way the world accessed online information, and I hope to help Lycos change the world again as we tame the wilderness of wearable technology and the Internet of Things," Mauldin said in a statement.

Mauldin’s return also coincides with Lycos’ efforts to find buyers or licensees for its clutch of 22 patents, spanning search engine optimization, online advertising and online multi-player gaming. The company has mandated Propeller(y), a Washington DC-based intellectual property consulting firm, to find buyers or partners who will license its patents.

“We are delighted to welcome the creator of Lycos on to the company board," Suresh Reddy, chairman and chief executive officer of Lycos, said in a statement. “This appointment brings solid value to the company in terms of broad basing the board composition. More importantly, this provides us access to Michael’s experience and deep insights in the technology domain."

Lycos was one of the first online search engines before it lost the race to Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. The website still functions under its new owner.

Mauldin was working as a research scientist on the Infomedia digital library project at Carnegie Mellon University when he invented the Lycos search engine in the early days of the Internet.

Lycos went public in 1996 and grew through acquisitions, taking over top Internet properties such as Wired News (the antecedent of today’s Wired news magazine), LycoShop (online marketplace), WhoWhere (yellow pages and people search engine), (financial services) and Gamesville (online gaming).

It was the fourth biggest online network in the US in March 2000 with 33 million visitors when it was acquired by Terra Networks SA for $12.5 billion in one of the biggest Internet transactions at the time.

Four years later, however, Terra Networks sold Lycos for a mere $95 million to South Korea’s Daum Communications Corp., which in turn sold it to Hyderabad-based digital marketing firm Ybrant Digital Ltd in 2010 for $36 million. Ybrant has since renamed itself Lycos Internet Ltd to position itself as an international player.

Mauldin’s LinkedIn profile says he is now “severely retired" and that he has no specializations to speak of. Although he and his wife are “world travellers", they mostly stay at their ranch in Austin, Texas, to take care of baby animals. For seven years till April 2013, he built combat robots in the 120- and 220-pound weight classes at annual robot contest RoboGames.

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Updated: 25 Aug 2015, 12:40 AM IST
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