Bob Davis (businessman)

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Bob Davis
Bob Davis-headshot.jpg
Bob Davis, 2014
Born Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Nationality American
Alma mater Northeastern University (B.S. Business Administration '79, M.B.A. Babson College '85)
Occupation General Partner, Highland Capital Partners

Bob Davis is an American businessman and CEO of Lycos (Nasdaq: LCOS), one of the internet's first search engines and most visited web sites in the world[1] until the company's $12.5B acquisition by Telefónica subsidiary Terra Networks in 2000.[2] Prior to the acquisition, he served as the company's only President and CEO since its inception in 1995 and with just $2M in venture capital funding led Lycos to the fastest IPO in history in 1996[3] and then to membership in the Nasdaq 100. Lycos became one of the first profitable internet businesses in the world, beating earnings estimates for 19 consecutive quarters.[4] As Lycos CEO, he led the company to acquire more than a dozen online companies,[5] including early web success stories such as:, HotBot, Tripod, WhoWhere,, and Matchmaker.[6] After the Telefónica acquisition, he then served as the CEO of Terra Lycos, the combined business formed through the merger. Terra Lycos, whose market capitalization exceeded $30B[7] would eventually reach 100 million users and have operations in 37 countries.[8]

Life and education[edit]

Davis was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1956. The youngest of four, he lost his mother when he was 13 and his father when he was 20 years old. He attended Northeastern University from 1974-1979, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.[9] He went on to earn an M.B.A. from Babson College in 1985. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Sciences from Bentley College,[10] and an Honorary Doctorate from Northeastern University[11] in 2000.Davis was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs.[12]


Davis is the author of "Speed is Life: Street Smart Lessons from the Front Lines of Business (Currency)". The book focused on practical advice for operating a company.[13] All proceeds from the book were donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a non-profit organization that Lycos had adopted believing its search technology would be helpful to the Center's cause.

In 2001, Davis left Terra Lycos to join the venture capital firm, Highland Capital Partners. He has served on the boards of John Hancock Financial (JHFS), Ticketmaster (TCMS), Terra Lycos (TRLY), Lycos (LCOS), Fastlick (FSTC), and Lycos Europe (LCY), as well as Children's Hospital Boston, and the Rivers School.[14]

Davis has been interviewed or quoted on market and company building and his thoughts have been published in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg TV, The Boston Globe, USA Today, Fox Business, Forbes, Fortune, and The Economist. He also advised The National Press Club[15] on matters relating to internet commerce and regulation.