Three decades ago, Tim Berners-Lee created the WorldWideWeb, the first public road to the Internet. For the first time, text documents were linked over a public network—the Internet, as we call it—and made available to anyone with access to a NeXT computer. While the WorldWideWeb didn’t come without restrictions, it did shine a pretty bright light on the potential of the open web. Seamless global communication and unlimited access to world information.
New entries into the browser space followed, and in 1993 Mosaic was born. Mosaic was GUI-based, easy to use, and ran on Windows, giving anyone with a computer access to web pages, chat rooms, and image libraries. It was a killer app for the internet. It felt magical.
Behind the mosaic were Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen Andreessen now famous for co-founding a16z. The two saw an opportunity to take advantage of the nascent web, and a year later released Netscape Navigator, an improved version of Mosaic. Needless to say, it’s out. By 1995, more than 15 million people were connected to the Internet, and Netscape controlled 70% of the growing browser market. Just 16 months after its launch, Netscape went public at a valuation of $2.9 billion, making it the largest tech IPO at the time. The idea that money could be made behind the Internet became widespread and the browser wars began.
What followed was intense competition:
- Microsoft developed Internet Explorer and quickly gained market dominance after integrating it with the Windows operating system in 1997.
- Netscape died, but the company’s codebase was open source and resurrected as Firefox under the nonprofit Mozilla.
- Apple entered the market in 2003 with Safari, while Google launched Chrome in 2008. Many have tried it.
Internet adoption has reached billions, and market shares have shifted. Browsers have become commoditized. What began as an innovation-driven space has grown in popularity with cycles of incremental innovation. The increase in global demand for Internet access meant that browsers doubled down on user acquisition rather than product differentiation. The goal was distribution. The end result was complacency – players failed to evolve with changing user needs.
They say a picture says 1000 words. Well, here are three:
Internet Explorer in 2000 was no different than Netscape Navigator in 1997, and frankly, not much different than Chrome today. Sure, the core performance has improved, the UI is cleaner, extensions are now a thing… but the basics have stayed the same.
Thirty years after Tim Berners-Lee released the WorldWideWeb, the browser’s essential utility remains largely searchable. Meanwhile, the world moved on. The Internet has moved away from its hypertext roots and is now an ocean of endless interactive experiences. Software, as we know all too well, has moved to the cloud. We work, socialize, play, create, learn, and more inside our browser. It has become our digital home – an OS within an OS.
The average time spent on the Internet per day is now more than six hours. Assuming eight hours of sleep, we spend about 40% of our waking hours online. For 16-24-year-olds, that number is more than seven hours… and rising. The net is that our web browsers are the single piece of software we use the most – they’re our gateway to everything we do online.
Unfortunately, we don’t actively think about them. Despite their many flaws, we’ve come to accept browsers as they are. Browsers, as designed today, bury us in a sea of icons and web apps, always a click away without distraction, constantly losing context. They provide the basic benefits without offering much more. They are the way they are because no one challenged them to be better… until today.
Enter SigmaOS, which wants to end the complacency prevalent in the category. SigmaOS rethinks the browser experience from the ground up, designing every millimeter of the product with true empathy for the end user. The company is developing a new type of web browser that makes you faster and more productive. One that adapts itself to your needs. Made for the 21st century.
It works with the keyboard, supports powerful contextual search, enables easy, split-screen multitasking, turns tabs into organized workspaces, offers cross-device synchronization, provides performance and security on par with Safari, and is beautifully designed. SigmaOS personalizes itself for the user, puts content front and center, brings order to chaos… it just works.
Behind the magic are Mahyad, Ali and Saurav, three software engineers who deeply appreciate the art of product design. Trinity believes deeply in creating thoughtful software. Buttons need a purpose, features need a reason to exist. Nothing should be done for this. While many other players over-index as many functions as possible in shipping, Mahyad, Ali and Saurav believe in this philosophy. more or less. They build what it takes to exist, no there is. Every additional feature released in SigmaOS has a reason for being there – to make web browsing wonderfully productive.
Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with all three of them to rebuild the path to the web, the browser of the 21st century. We’re incredibly excited to lead SigmaOS’ Seed round alongside a phenomenal group of investors including Moonfire, Shine VC, TrueSight Ventures, 7Percent, Pioneer Fund, Y Combinator, Ventures Together and others.
– Ziv and Team LG