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The name of that thing—it’s right on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t reach it... And that article—it had such a great idea you wanted to revisit, but where did you read it again? How helpful would the ability to instantly pluck these distant thoughts, right out of the online ether be, using only a few descriptors, like a game of charades?

Oliver Sauter is the Founder & CEO of Worldbrain, a Munich Founder Institute portfolio company that has created Memex, a browser extension tool that can effectively categorize and recall all the research you’ve viewed across the entire web—all while fiercely defending your privacy. 

Worldbrain’s plugin Memex makes it virtually effortless to look back through all the content of your searching history, using simple term search queries, like a few words about the content you recall or tag. Founder & CEO Sauter’s vision is proudly grounded in maintaining the company’s mission-driven focus. Defending users’ privacy and data ownership is central to the open-source software and locally stored data model.

Find Websites Again In Seconds

Founder & CEO Sauter explains, 

WorldBrain.io’s current mission is to make it effortless for individuals to organize, recover, and share the most useful and knowledge-expanding content on the web. Our first step is Memex, a privacy-focused and open-source browser extension to power-search, annotate and organize your web-research.

Memex allow its users to search, annotate, and organize content from across the web. Rather than simply hitting a star or bookmarking a page, Memex locally stores notes, annotations, and lets you quickly tag them for custom organization or improved searchability later on. Worldbrain’s software is not only open-source, but also free for all users (paid upgrades are available)—and, users own all their own data. This is a major differentiator in today’s world, where too many tech companies rely on selling user data—but such a thing would be a non-starter for the Worldbrain team’s ethos. Sauter says,

Our business model does not depend on analyzing and/or selling your data. We want to be profitable because we deliver real value to you and other users through the premium services we offer now and in the future.

Not only is Worldbrain focused on providing value and privacy, but they have also elected not to pursue venture capital at this time. The company has employed a Steward Ownership model, a profit-sharing concept with capped returns for investors and team members, which also focuses on reinvesting profits back into the company.

In addition to the Steward Ownership approach, Worldbrain was recently selected out of nearly 300 other startups to participate in the Next Generation Internet initiative, created by the European Commission. As part of the program, the company received €200,000, as well as other in-kind resources to help advance their technology and mission.

Failing Forward To Find Successes

Before Sauter’s current venture, successes weren’t always so sure. 

I am the person who tried and failed with many things in the past in order to refine my intuition and sense, to recognize what truly drives me. I unsuccessfully studied twice, worked three different jobs, and failed at a previous startup, but it refined my purpose and led me to where I am today, founding worldbrain.io, the organization of my dreams.

Through our own trials in entrepreneurship, it’s often easy to mentally assume overnight successes in others, of what were really the result of decades of work. And for practically every success story, there were bumps and challenges all along the way. Sauter is a strong example of an entrepreneur who has stuck to one’s own vision, and overcome challenges to ultimately pursue their solutions and technology passions with success.

“If your goal is to apply for a job, your new-found purpose-driven mindset will catapult you automatically in the top 10% of people applying for a job, as you have a strong sense of dedication and understanding for the problem, and have thought through how you can apply your skills, talents, desire to grow, and how you can apply all that in the context of the people you are talking to. This is the stuff of dreams for every entrepreneur or HR person you’ll meet.”


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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $1 billion in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey

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