Marc Porat

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Marc Porat
Born Uri Porat
Nationality American
Alma mater Columbia, Stanford
Occupation entrepreneur, angel investor
Known for General Magic, The Information Economy

Marc Porat is a tech entrepreneur and angel investor. He is founder of six companies including General Magic. General Magic has been called “the most important dead company in Silicon Valley".[1] In the early 2000s, Porat was a member of a high profile wave of tech executives who founded cleantech companies.[2] He launched three companies in the built environment: Serious Materials, Zeta Communities, and CalStar Cement.

Early Career[edit]

Porat authored a pivotal work entitled The Information Economy[3] as his doctoral thesis at Stanford University in which he predicted the transition from a manufacturing-based U.S. economy to one based on information. He then worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce and served as a program director at the Aspen Institute and was later appointed Executive Director, Washington Activities of the Aspen Institute Program on Communications and Society.[4] While at the Aspen Institute, Porat produced the film The Information Society[5] for PBS.

After leaving the Aspen Institute, Porat co-founded Private Satellite Network (PSN). The company was a direct broadcast satellite innovator that built and operated television and data networks for Fortune 500 companies and governments, including General Motors, Merrill Lynch, Ford, J.C. Penney and the U.S. Army. PSN pioneered the use of small aperture rooftop antennas for videoconferencing. The company was sold and Porat joined Apple Computer.

General Magic[edit]

Porat co-founded General Magic in 1990 with Andy Hertzfeld and Bill Atkinson from the original Mac team. The company built the first handheld communications device called Magic Link. Referred to then as a “personal intelligent communicator,” it was the precursor to the smart phone PDA.[6]

General Magic was a spinout from Apple Computer and attracted the world's largest electronics companies as its partners and investors, including Sony, Motorola, AT&T Corporation, Matsushita, and Philips.

General Magic assembled a "dream team." Alumni include Joanna Hoffman, Susan Kare, Megan Smith, Phil Goldman, Zarko Draganic, Andy Rubin, Tony Fadell, Adam Hertz, Kevin Lynch, John Gianandrea, Pierre Omidyar, Jim White, and Rich Miller.

Porat served as CEO from 1990 to 1996 and took the company public in 1995 at a valuation of $834M. The stock doubled on the first day.[7]

The Built Environment[edit]

In 2002, Porat co-founded Serious Materials. The company manufactured high-efficiency windows and drywall (Eco-Rock). Serious Materials provided all the windows for a major retrofit of the Empire State Building in 2010 with a predicted reduction in energy use of over $400,000 a year.[8] Porat then founded CalStar Products in 2007. CalStar utilizes industrial waste streams to produce sustainable, low energy and low CO2 building materials, such as bricks, pavers, roof tiles and precast concrete products. Porat also co-founded Zeta Communities (ZETA) in 2007. The company designs and manufactures net-zero energy multifamily housing. ZETA won the Green Builder Home of the Year Award.[9]


  1. ^ Kanellos, Michael. "General Magic: The Most Important Dead Company in Silicon Valley?". Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  2. ^ "Silicon Valley tech leaders are reinventing themselves for a cleantech revolution". Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  3. ^ Porat, Mark Uri (May 1977). The Information Economy: Definition and Measurement. Washington, DC: United States Department of Commerce. OCLC 5184933. 
  4. ^ "Aspen Institute Annual Meeting 1978" (PDF). 
  5. ^ The information society, 1980-01-01, retrieved 2015-08-30 
  6. ^ Businessweek. "Marc Porat: Philosopher of the Shared Vision". 
  7. ^ Markoff, John (1995-02-11). "COMPANY NEWS; General Magic Stock Surges on First Trading Day". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  8. ^ Review, MIT Technology. "Serious Materials - MIT Technology Review". Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  9. ^ "ZETA Communities wins green award for affordable, zero-energy townhome". Retrieved 2015-08-30. 

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