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Wendell Brown

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Wendell Brown
Brown delivering the keynote address at MITA Tech Talks, 2013
Alma materCornell University
Computer Scientist
Known forTeleo
(m. 1995)

Wendell Brown is an American computer scientist, entrepreneur and inventor best known for his innovations in telecommunications and Internet technology, cybersecurity, and smartphone app development. Brown has founded multiple notable technology companies including Teleo, LiveOps and eVoice.

Early life and education

Brown was born in the Appalachia region of the United States, and grew up in the northernmost Appalachian town of Oneonta where he was first introduced to computers by his father, who worked as a professor at SUNY Oneonta. Brown attended Oneonta High School, where he began computer programming, selling personal computer systems, and published his first computer article in Byte (magazine).[1][2][3]

Brown's mother and father were both native West Virginians. His father, Foster Brown, was a statistics and psychology professor from Wheeling, West Virginia. His mother, Barbara, was an elementary school teacher from Tunnelton, West Virginia. Brown has stated of his upbringing in the Appalachian region, "I'm proud of my West Virginia heritage, where my family tree has deep roots dating back to the founding of our nation, and I treasure many memories from times spent in the lush countryside of my parents' hometowns."[4][2]

Brown graduated from Cornell University in 1983, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.[5][6] While at Cornell, Brown became the youngest recipient to be awarded the Hughes Aircraft Bachelor of Science Undergraduate Fellowship.[7][8]

Software development

Steve Jobs with Brown at the launch of Brown's Hippo-C software for Macintosh, January 1984

While studying at Cornell University, Brown was hired by video game publisher Imagic, where he created several bestselling titles[9] including a port of the 1983 arcade game Star Wars for ColecoVision,[10] as well as Beauty & the Beast,[11][12] Nova Blast,[11] and an unreleased port of Moonsweeper[13][14] for Mattel's Intellivision.

Upon graduating from university, Brown left Imagic and his career as an independent computer scientist began with his founding of Hippopotamus Software, one of earliest software developers for the Macintosh. Brown's Hippo-C development environment was the first C compiler for the Mac and Atari ST computer systems.[15]

After the success of Hippo-C, in 1986, Brown and Rick Oliver founded Nilford Labs in Sunnyvale, California, which developed the ADAP SoundRack system, a pioneering direct-to-hard-disk audio recording system that replaced the traditional method of tape-splice sound editing.[16][17] ADAP was used to create and edit soundtracks of Hollywood movies and TV shows, including Born on the Fourth of July, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Die Hard, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. [18]

ADAP was also used by recording artists Peter Gabriel, Fleetwood Mac, The Pointer Sisters, Mötley Crüe, David Bowie, and Nirvana among others for sound effects and digital music editing. The Walt Disney Company and Toshiba used ADAP to create sound effects for rides and live action productions at Disney amusement parks in the US and Japan.[19] MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) company Hybrid Arts acquired Nilford Labs in 1988.[20]

From 1988 through the mid-1990s, Brown worked with National Semiconductor as a telecommunications cryptography expert where he built hardware implementations of DS3 algorithms.[21]

After leaving National Semiconductor, Brown reunited with one of his Imagic colleagues, Stanford University computer scientist Mark Klein, to co-found computer software company WalkSoftly in 1995, based in Palo Alto, California.[22] In 1996, they developed the first mass market software cybersecurity program for PCs, including a bestselling Internet security program, Guard Dog. Their innovation was awarded the Software Publishers' Association Top 4 most innovative security products of the 1990s and named by PC Data as one of the Top 10 bestselling retail security software products of all time. WalkSoftly was acquired by CyberMedia (a division of McAfee/Intel) in 1997. [23]

Internet technology

Brown is regarded as a pioneer of Internet messaging, VoIP technologies, as well as Internet-based gig work and remote work.[24][25][26][27]

As co-founder and Chief Ideas Officer of eVoice, Brown created the eVoice voicemail platform in 1998, the world's first large-scale, Internet-enabled voicemail system.[28][29][30] eVoice developed techniques such as voicemail-to-email, visual voicemail, and enhanced caller ID,[31] innovations that are considered some of the earliest "apps," and which were later deployed by Google Voice and Apple. By 2000, the company had 1.5 million paid subscribers and also supplied white label voicemail solutions to AT&T, MCI, AOL, and regional phone companies.[32] AOL Time-Warner acquired eVoice in 2001 where it became part of the AOL Time-Warner voice services group.[33]

After the acquisition of eVoice, Brown left AOL Time-Warner in 2001 to co-found CallCast, a Palo Alto-based virtual call center company that merged with LiveOps in 2002.[34] He served as LiveOps chairman and chief technology officer. The same year, Brown was recognized as one of the Top 100 leading computer industry executives in America by technology magazine MicroTimes.[35] As of 2023, LiveOps continues to provide call center solutions and social media management for companies such as Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut, and eBay.[36]

Brown went on to co-found another communications company, Teleo, in 2005,[37] an early competitor of Skype, where he created VoIP applications enabling users to send and receive phone calls over the Internet.[38] Teleo was acquired by Microsoft and became part of Microsoft's MSN group in 2006. [39]

In 2015, Brown started the San Francisco and New York City-based cybersecurity company Averon, which develops frictionless identity solutions based on mobile technologies.[40] Averon presented a verified location concept on the main stage of the global TED Conference in 2016, and introduced its Direct Autonomous Authentication (DAA) mobile security technology in 2018.[41][42] Multinational telecommunications provider Telefónica is a technology partner of Averon.[43]

As a Silicon Valley angel investor, Brown has also been involved in funding notable startup companies including Appeo, ADISN,[44] MOEO,[45] and IronPort,[46] which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2007 for US$830 million.[47]


In January 2012, the World Economic Forum in Davos honored Brown's energy efficiency inventions as a Technology Pioneer Award Nominee.[48] His high-efficiency LED lighting technology, called Nularis, is used by global franchises including Hyatt Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.[citation needed]

Brown has created dozens of U.S. and internationally patented inventions in the fields of cybersecurity, telecommunications, virtual workforce, electric vehicles, LED lighting, 3D cameras, renewable fuels, online music distribution, and mobile phone apps including WebDiet, a method of using mobile phones to count food consumption to improve health. The WebDiet app was recognized as the first app to count calories and automate meal coaching.[49][50]


Brown's philanthropic involvements include the endowment of a named scholarship at Soka University of America (Aliso Viejo, California), support for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Aviation Safety Lab & Library, and private sponsorship of underprivileged students in South America.[citation needed]

He is a longtime contributing member of the Human Rights Campaign for the advancement of LGBT civil rights, and of global Jewish service organizations.[2]

Private life

Brown speaking at TIME in New York City, 2012

In 2013, Brown was honored by his hometown with a permanent plaque on Oneonta High School's Wall of Distinction for his accomplishments in business and technology.[3]

Brown participates as a speaker, technology judge and advisor in communities including the Israel Conference,[51] the World Economic Forum,[52] TED (conference),[53] Google and MIT Hackathons,[54] Digital Life Design Munich and DLD Tel Aviv Conferences,[55] the Web Summit Dublin,[56] TechCrunch, CTIA - The Wireless Association,[57] AlwaysOn ("Networking the Global Silicon Valley"),[58] El Financiero (Bloomberg),[59] and the Mita Institute Tech Talks.[60]

Brown is an advisory committee member of the Progressive X Prize for automobile innovation including new fuel technologies and electric car development,[61] an advisor to the MITA Institute Venture Fund,[62] as well as an advisor to Gener8, a stereoscopic 3D movie company with film credits including The Amazing Spider-Man and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.[35]

Brown is a licensed private pilot and is active in the development of new airplane, rocket, and electric vehicle designs. He is married to American author Taro Gold.[63]


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