|Owner(s)||Digital Sky Technologies|
Mirabilis was founded in June 1996 by Arik Vardi, Yair Goldfinger, Sefi Vigiser and Amnon Amir. It was purchased by America Online (AOL) for $407 million in 1998. Funding for Mirabilis came from Yossi Vardi, father of Arik Vardi.
Goldfinger, Visiger, Vardi and Amir met while working for a Tel Aviv software company, Zapa Digital Arts, that specialized in three-dimensional graphic tools for the Internet. In 1996, they left Zapa and began to toy with ideas for new Internet innovations. They created ICQ in less than two months, but had no funding. Yossi Vardi, one of the founders of Israel Chemicals, agreed to invest a few hundred thousand dollars to develop the technology. Mirabilis was established in a small apartment in San Jose, California, where Internet access was cheaper.
ICQ grew as people encouraged their friends to join so they could communicate with each other. This established a powerful network effect as prospective users strongly preferred the system where their friends were likely to be.