Caterina Fake

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Caterina Fake
Caterina Fake (2019)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US[1]
Alma materVassar College (1991)
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, businesswoman
Known forCo-founding Flickr and Hunch
SpouseStewart Butterfield (2001–2007)

Caterina Fake is an American entrepreneur and businesswoman. She co-founded the websites Flickr in 2004 and Hunch in 2007. Fake has been a trustee for nonprofit organizations and was the chairwoman of Etsy. For her role in creating Flickr, Fake was listed in Time magazine's Time 100, and she has been recognized within Silicon Valley for her work as an angel investor.

Early life and education[edit]

Fake[a] was raised in northern New Jersey by her American father and her Filipina mother.[3] As a child, she was not allowed to watch television, and her hobbies included reading poetry and playing classical music.[4]

She graduated from the prestigious Choate Rosemary Hall in 1986 and Vassar College in 1991 with a degree in English, after transferring from Smith College in 1989. Vassar College had an intranet that the students could connect to from their dorm rooms, which Fake credits as being largely responsible for her eventually finding web design. After working various jobs, including as a painter's assistant, an investment banker, and at a dive shop (which Fake called her "post-college what-do-I-want-to-do period"), she was delayed in San Francisco while visiting her sister. Fake taught herself about the Internet and began creating websites and CD-ROMs.[5]


In 1997, she took a job managing the community forums of Netscape.[3] This experience, along with others in blogging and online communities,[5] led her to co-found Ludicorp in Vancouver with Stewart Butterfield and Jason Classon in summer 2002.[6] The company developed a massively multiplayer online role-playing game called Game Neverending. The game did not launch, but Fake and Butterfield started a new product called Flickr in 2004 that became one of the world's most popular photosharing websites. Flickr was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005 for around US$30 million.[7] It became part of the "Web 2.0" sites, integrating features such as social networking, community open APIs, tagging, and algorithms that surfaced the most popular content. After the acquisition, Fake took a job at Yahoo, where she ran the Technology Development group, known for its Hack Yahoo program and for Brickhouse, a rapid development environment for new products. She resigned from Yahoo on June 13, 2008.[8]

Fake previously worked as the art director for Salon, a news and opinion website started in 1995.[7] In 2007, she co-founded the website Hunch with entrepreneur Chris Dixon, which was acquired by eBay for $80 million in November 2011.[9] As of 2014, Fake's most recent project is called Findery. It launched under limited beta in February 2012 and was originally called Pinwheel. It was renamed to Findery in July 2012.[10] The company is headquartered in San Francisco.[11]

Fake joined the board of directors of Creative Commons in August 2008,[12] and the Sundance Institute board of trustees in 2015.[13] In 2014, she left Etsy's board of directors after eight years, citing other professional and personal priorities. She was chairwoman at the time of her resignation.[14]

Fake has won various awards, including Bloomberg Businessweek's "Best Leaders" in 2005,[15] Forbes's 2005 eGang, Fast Company's Fast 50, and Red Herring's 20 Entrepreneurs under 35.[16][non-primary source needed] She was listed on the 2006 Time 100Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people—under the category "Builders and Titans" with her Flickr co-founder.[17] She received honorary doctorates from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009[18] and from The New School in 2013.[19] Fake was a recipient of the 2018 "Visionary Award" from the Silicon Valley Forum, which recognizes leaders in Silicon Valley businesses. Among her most recognized businesses, she was identified for her contributions to Silicon Valley as an author and angel investor.[20]

Fake hosted the podcast "Should This Exist?" produced by Quartz.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Fake was married to Stewart Butterfield, her Flickr co-founder, from 2001[22] to 2007.[3] They had one daughter together, in 2007.[23] As of 2015, Fake is in a relationship with Jaiku co-founder Jyri Engeström, and the couple have three children between them.[4]


  1. ^ Her surname is from Middle English Fawke, from Old French Fauque, in turn from Latin Falco, "falcon", either a medieval nickname or metonymic for a falconer.[2]


  1. ^ Fake, Caterina (August 15, 2010). "About". Archived from the original on February 19, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  2. ^ Reaney, P. H. (1997). A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press. pp. 161, 164-165. ISBN 978-0198600923.
  3. ^ a b c Leonard, Devin (July 28, 2010). "What You Want: Flickr Creator Spins Addictive New Web Service". Wired. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Tanz, Jason (February 4, 2015). "The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their Kids". Wired.
  5. ^ a b Pardes, Bronwen (April 2009). "Following Intuition: Caterina Fake '91". Vassar College. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Livingston, Jessica (2008). Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days. Apress. p. 257. ISBN 9781430210771.
  7. ^ a b Buskirk, Eliot Van (June 14, 2010). "Flickr Co-Founder Has a Hunch: Personal Data Will Drive the Future". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Archived from the original on December 22, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Arrington, Michael (June 17, 2008). "Flickr Co-founders Join Mass Exodus From Yahoo". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  9. ^ Yarrow, Jay (November 21, 2011). "eBay Buys Chris Dixon's Startup Hunch For $80 Million". Business Insider.
  10. ^ McGee, Matt (July 27, 2012). "Pinwheel Has A New Name: Findery". Marketing Land. Third Door Media. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  11. ^ Lewine, Edward (May 24, 2014). "Home Sweet Headquarters for an App Start-Up". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Steuer, Eric (August 25, 2008). "Flickr Cofounder Caterina Fake Joins Creative Commons Board" (Press release). Creative Commons. Retrieved September 8, 2008.
  13. ^ Sharf, Zack (June 17, 2015). "Sundance Institute Adds Five New Trustees Members | IndieWire". Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  14. ^ Weber, Harrison (December 14, 2014). "Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake departs Etsy's board, CEO Chad Dickerson becomes chairman". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on January 17, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  15. ^ "Best Leaders: Entrepreneurs – Stewart Butterfield & Caterina Fake – Flickr". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on January 9, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  16. ^ "Caterina Fake". Business Insider. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  17. ^ Quittner, Josh (May 8, 2006). "The 2006 Time 100: The Flickr Founders". Time. Archived from the original on March 18, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  18. ^ "Commencement: Honorary degrees". Rhode Island School of Design. Archived from the original on April 18, 2009.
  19. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients". May 24, 2013. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  20. ^ "Announcing the Visionaries: Silicon Valley Forum's 2018 Visionary Awards" (Press release). BusinessWire. March 8, 2018. Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  21. ^ Mattox, Brendan (July 17, 2019). "Should This Exist? Asks If Technology Has Gone Too Far". Podcast Review. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  22. ^ Chatterjee, Pia (September 12, 2007). "Love, e-company style". Business 2.0 Magazine. CNN Money.
  23. ^ Thomas, Owen (July 12, 2007). "Silicon Valley's baby boom". Gawker. Archived from the original on April 16, 2013.

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