Mitch Kapor

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Mitch Kapor
Mitch Kapor (Pic 1).jpg
Born (1950-11-01) November 1, 1950 (age 65)
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Alma mater Yale University (B.A., 1971)
Beacon College of Boston (M.S., 1978)
MIT Sloan School of Management
Known for Lotus 1-2-3 and co-founder of The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Mitchell David Kapor (Listeni/ˈk.pʊər/ KAY-poor),[1] born November 1, 1950,[2][3] is the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3.[2][4] He is also a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and was the first chair of the Mozilla Foundation.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Kapor was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended public schools on Long Island in Freeport, New York,[2] where he graduated from high school in 1967.[2] In 1966, he studied astronomy at the Summer Science Program. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1971 and studied psychology, linguistics and computer science as part of an interdisciplinary major in cybernetics.[2][5] Kapor served as Music Director and Program Director at Yale's radio station WYBC-FM. He also studied in the master's program at the MIT Sloan School of Management.[6] Kapor attended the now defunct Beacon College of Boston, with a satellite campus in Washington D.C.[7]


Kapor worked as head of development at VisiCorp (the marketers of VisiCalc) and selling the rights to his products VisiPlot and VisiTrend to VisiCorp. Shortly after Kapor left VisiCorp, he co-designed and developed an integrated spreadsheet and graphing program. Kapor founded Lotus Development Corporation in 1982 with Jonathan Sachs, Kapor served as the President (later Chairman) and Chief Executive Officer of Lotus from 1982 to 1986 and as a Director until 1987.

In 1990, with fellow digital rights activists John Perry Barlow and John Gilmore, he co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and served as its chairman until 1994. The EFF is an international non-profit digital rights organization based in the United States. In 1990, Kapor's company ON Technology introduced the product On Location.[8] In 2001, Kapor founded the Open Source Applications Foundation, where he worked on Chandler Project. His involvement with the Foundation and Project ended in 2008. Kapor became the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation at its inception in 2003. In 2006, Kapor founded Foxmarks (later renamed as Xmarks), based in San Francisco.[9]

Kapor was a founding investor in UUNET Technologies, an early Internet service provider.[2] Kapor was Chairman of the Commercial Internet eXchange,[10] Kapor was the original Chair and serves on the Board of Directors of Linden Lab, a San Francisco-based company, and he is a member of the Advisory Board for the Wikimedia Foundation.[11]

He is the founder of the Kapor Center for Social Impact (formerly the Kapor Foundation) and a partner at its venture arm, Kapor Capital, and is a director at the Level Playing Field Institute.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Freada Kapor Klein and resides in Oakland.[12] Both served on the Board of Trustees of the Summer Science Program from 2004 to 2006. He was a student of the program in 1966.[13]

Kapor serves on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation.[14] In May 2009, after founder Susan P. Crawford had joined the Obama administration, Kapor took over chairmanship of OneWebDay - the "Earth Day for the internet". In 1996, the Computer History Museum named him a Museum Fellow "for his development of Lotus 1-2-3, the first major software application for the IBM PC."[15] He founded the Mitchell Kapor Foundation to support his philanthropic interests in environmental health. He also co-founded, and is on the board of, the Level Playing Field Institute, a 501c(3) dedicated to fairness in education and workplaces.[citation needed]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kapor, Mitch (23 November 2014). "For the record, my name is pronounced KAY-poor, like the letter K. It's not kah-POOR.". Twitter. Retrieved 23 November 2014.  External link in |work= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Mitchell Kapor: Biography Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Computer Hope (2012). Computer history - 1940 - 1960. Computer Hope. Retrieved on 2012-02-17 from
  4. ^ "The MIT 150: 150 Ideas, Inventions, and Innovators that Helped Shape Our World". The Boston Globe. May 15, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ Cassidy, Mike (May 5, 2011). "Lotus founder Mitch Kapor sets his sights on fixing education". Contra Costa Times. 
  6. ^ "Mitch Kapor Spins A New Kind Of Disk". Inc. Magazine. June 1, 1983. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ New York Times. " New Retrieval Software By On Technology Inc." by John Markoff. January 22, 1990.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Kapor, Mitch. "House Science Subcommittee Testimony". Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Advisory Board". Wikimedia Foundation. January 22, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  12. ^ [2] New York Times, "Oakland: Brooklyn by the Bay", by Matt Haber, May 2, 2014
  13. ^ Cringely, Robert X. "Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date", Addison-Wesley, 1996, p95
  14. ^ Board and Advisory Board Sunlight Foundation, February 14, 2011
  15. ^ CHM. "Mitch Kapor — CHM Fellow Award Winner". Retrieved March 30, 2015. [3]

External links[edit]