Rich Barton

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Richard Barton
BornJune 2, 1967 (1967-06-02) (age 51)
Known forFounder of Expedia, Founder of Zillow, Founder of Glassdoor
Net worthUS $400 million[1]

Richard Barton (born June 2, 1967) is an American former Microsoft executive and founder of online travel company (and Microsoft spinoff) Expedia, Inc., real-estate internet company Zillow, and job search engine and career community Glassdoor. He also founded the online travel photography sharing site Trover, which was acquired by Expedia in 2016.[2] Barton is also a venture partner at Benchmark[3] and is on the board of directors for Netflix, Avvo, RealSelf, Nextdoor and Artsy.

In 2002, he was named as one of the top 100 innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review.[4] In April 2014, he was named to Barack Obama's Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship.[5]

Early life[edit]

Barton, raised in New Canaan, Connecticut, United States, is the son of a teacher and mechanical engineer. He graduated from Stanford University in 1989 with a degree in engineering. He first worked for Alliance Consulting Group and in 1991, began working for Microsoft.[6]

Barton's forefathers John Barton and his son Horace were inducted into the 1999 South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame.[7][8] Barton's family has a Presbyterian church background.[9][10]


Many of Barton's companies add transparency to their industries and provide people with data and information. Expedia gives people more information on travel, Zillow gives people more information on real estate, and Glassdoor gives people more information on salaries and company ratings. Barton refers to his business philosophy as "power to the people."[11]

Barton founded Expedia within Microsoft in 1994.[12] In 1994, Microsoft was planning to build a travel guidebook on a CD-ROM. Barton, who was familiar with text-based internet services of the time, had come across an online service designed for travel agents working from home. He felt this would be a larger opportunity for the company and pitched the idea of an online travel booking service to Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Nathan Myhrvold.[3] Gates, Balmer, and Myhrvold gave Barton permission to move forward with the project, which officially shipped to the web as Expedia in 1996. Barton served as CEO through Expedia's IPO in 1999 and stayed in the position until 2003.

After a year-long leave of absence from the business community, Barton returned to Seattle in 2004 and started working toward the launch of Zillow with Lloyd Frink, another Expedia and Microsoft alumnus. Barton and Frink did not reveal much about the company prior to its launch.[13]


  1. ^ Wingfield, Nick (2014-04-13). "The Art of 'Something From Nothing'". Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  2. ^ Nickelsburg, Monica. "Acquisition-hungry Expedia gobbles up Rich Barton's travel photography startup Trover". GeekWire.
  3. ^ a b Schaal, Dennis. "The Definitive Oral History of Online Travel". Skift.
  4. ^ "Innovator Under 35: Richard Barton, 34". MIT Technology Review Magazine. MIT Technology Review, Cambridge, MA. 2002. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Announcing President Obama's New Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship". 2014.
  6. ^ Eng, Dinah (January 14, 2013). "The King of Travel and Real Estate". Fortune. 167 (1): 21–24.
  7. ^ "John and Horace Barton". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  8. ^ "The man behind Expedia, Zillow and GlassDoor connects with his West Michigan roots". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  9. ^ "John Olaf Barton (1877 - 1967) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Horace J Barton (1907 - 2003) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  11. ^ Wingfield, Nick. "The Art of 'Something From Nothing'". The New York Times.
  12. ^ "A talk with Zillow's co-founder and CEO on its 10th year". 7 February 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  13. ^ Cook, John (November 29, 2004). "Former Expedia top exec is back". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.