at their house in Ithaca. “Tim came to the
door and physically put himself between
the crashers,” Cane says. ;e would-be
intruders walked away.
Much was gained at Blackboard, Chi
says, but the culture he valued ebbed
away. Blackboard became more typically corporate as it grew, meaning that
jobs were tightly defined and more
compartmentalized. For Chi, much of
the joy evaporated.
But not all of it, because Blackboard is
where he met investment banker Tracey
;omm, and it was their courtship that
led him down the aisle to Wedding Wire.
As they attempted to plan their August
2005 wedding—the eighth among their
crowd that year—the Internet-centric
Chi realized there was no central website
where engaged couples could find useful
information, including reviews of caterers, florists, event planners and the like.
As a groom, he experienced firsthand
how di;cult it was to execute wedding
plans. As a technologist, he couldn’t find
an online resource that would help him
plan more e;ciently.
Chi recruited friends from Cornell
and Blackboard, set up shop in his dining
room, and WeddingWire was born. Of
course, he was entering an industry he
knew little about, but he knew that his
parents, who owned a small architecture
firm and a real estate brokerage, were a
bit lost in cyberspace, and Chi was betting that many vendors weren’t using the
“Tim wanted to build something that
was his own creation,” Cane says. Reflecting on his friend’s choice of a business,
he adds: “He’s compelled to fix ine;ciencies.” Despite his personal experience,
Chi admits the wedding business was
like a blind date. For example, Chi and
his team developed a “
pay-per-sales-lead” system for small businesses that
they called SmartMatch technology. If an
ad lead didn’t work, it would be recycled
until a match occurred. Vendors “didn’t
understand what we were trying to do,”
Chi recalls, and the bright idea fizzled.
Chi tapped Lee Wang along with
Je; Yeh and Sonny Ganguly to create