Kevin O'Connor Biography

(1961–)
Business leader and entrepreneur Kevin O'Connor is a co-founder and the CEO of the internet advertising technology company DoubleClick.

Synopsis

Kevin O’Connor was born on April 4, 1961, in Livonia, Michigan. He helped start a software firm in Atlanta, Georgia, called Intercomputer Communications Corp. (ICC) with yearly revenues that reached $35 million by 1992. Tech firm DCA acquired ICC in 1992, and he became DCA's chief technology officer and vice president of research until 1995. He quit DCA, and started DoubleClick in 1996.

Pivotal Role in Advertising

Business figure and entrepreneur Kevin O'Connor was born on April 4, 1961, in Livonia, Michigan. O'Connor graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in electrical engineering. He is a co-founder of the internet advertising technology company DoubleClick.

There's an old joke among advertisers around the world: "I know I'm wasting half my money: the problem is, I don't know which half." Thanks to Kevin O'Connor, co-founder and CEO of DoubleClick, no one's laughing anymore, at least not in the online world. O'Connor's company has made precise targeting and audience tracking mandatory in Web advertising, and there's no longer any excuse for not knowing exactly where ad dollars are going, and who is seeing every ad banner.

Early Entrepreneurial Ambitions

O'Connor, a stolid Midwesterner born in Detroit, co-founded his first technology start-up in 1983 at the age of 21. A University of Michigan graduate, he helped start a software firm in Atlanta, Georgia, called Intercomputer Communications Corp. (ICC) with yearly revenues that reached $35 million by 1992.

Tech firm DCA acquired ICC in 1992, and O'Connor became DCA's chief technology officer and vice president of research until 1995, when he had a brilliant idea. Netscape had launched its browser in 1995, and a proliferation of companies were experimenting with Web sites.

Although Web advertising was still in its infancy-indeed, the Web's early idealistic audience strenuously objected when sites began testing banner ads-O'Connor saw that traditional advertisers lacked technical expertise and would be eager to outsource the messy business of delivering ads to Web sites, and calculating who saw them.

Doubleclick Success

O'Connor quit DCA, and started DoubleClick in an Atlanta basement in 1996, along with chief technology officer Dwight Merriman. To add Madison Avenue polish to the gritty and technical business of Web advertising, he moved the company to New York and recruited media industry maven Wenda Harris Millard as executive vice president.

Millard's contacts and media savvy, honed during her years as publisher of Family Circle and the Adweek Group, gave the fledgling company credibility with big advertisers and Web publishers. By the time the company went public in February 1998, O'Connor had been named by Forbes ASAP as one of technology's "Wealthiest 100." The stock's price doubled within a month of its IPO (Initial Public Offering).

DoubleClick represents a network of over 1,200 sites, and serves as a middleman between them and 3,100 advertising clients, who select a set of sites where they want to run their ads. DoubleClick distributes the ads to the selected sites, and charges the advertiser a fee,which it shares with the sites. In addition, the company tracks where users are logging on from, what other sites they've been to, and what Internet service they're using.

Business Expansion

Despite the company's success, O'Connor hasn't taken a breather and has continued to expand DoubleClick's services. In 1999, the company refined its tracking abilities by purchasing Abacus Direct, a company with a vast database of consumer-purchasing data. Meanwhile, DoubleClick also bought NetGravity, a company that makes software which allows Web publishers to manage advertising on their sites.

While DoubleClick remains to be the leading advertising network on the Internet, the company has recently expanded to include: DoubleClick Local, the first Internet advertising solution developed for regional and local businesses; DoubleClick International, which allows advertisers to reach a global market in 21 countries; and DoubleClick Boomerang, a one-to-one targeting solution that allows advertisers to re-market to customers.

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