Jeremy D. Allaire (born 13 May 1971) is an American-born technologist and Internet entrepreneur. He is currently CEO and founder of the digital currency company Circle and Chairman of the Board of Brightcove. With his brother Joseph J. Allaire, he co-founded Allaire Corporation in 1995. Allaire Corp. had a successful IPO in January 1999 and was subsequently acquired by rival Macromedia in 2001. Allaire served as CTO of Macromedia following the acquisition and helped develop the Macromedia MX platform (a suite of software tools and servers aimed at enabling rich applications delivered using Adobe Flash Player).
Allaire left Macromedia in February 2003 to join venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners as a technologist and executive-in-residence. In 2004, Allaire founded Brightcove, an online video platform used by many top media and marketing organizations worldwide. After a successful IPO in early 2012, Allaire stepped down as Brightcove CEO in 2013 and currently serves as Chairman of the Board.
In October 2013, Allaire announced the launch of Circle, an Internet-based consumer finance company that aims to bring the power and benefits of digital money, such as Bitcoin, to mainstream consumers.
Early life and education
Allaire was educated in the Montessori tradition, which he says, “built into me a belief in self-direction, in independent thought, in peer collaboration, in responsibility.”
In 1993 Allaire graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he received double-majored in political science and philosophy, with a concentration in economics. While at Macalester, his college roommate and high-school friend, who worked for the campus IT group, rigged a high-speed Internet connection to their dorm room, which allowed Allaire to access and experiment with the Internet in its early days.
From 1990 until his graduation, Allaire became obsessed with the Internet and how it could be applied to transform existing systems of communications and media, as well as its impact on fundamental human rights, such as free speech. Jeremy was an early follower of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and later recruited EFF founder Mitch Kapor to the board of directors of Allaire Corporation.
In 1992, Allaire authored a policy proposal for the creation of a National Information Network, based on the National Research & Education Network (NREN, the precursor to the commercial Internet), proposing methods to commercialize access to IP services. This paper was submitted to the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Technology, whose chair was Senator Al Gore.
In 1992 and 1993, with a college friend, Allaire developed an application called “World News Report” which aggregated news feeds and mailing list content from independent media sources available on the Internet, and provided a full-text indexed browsable and searchable interface to access independent journalism on the Internet (built using Apple Hypercard).
Also while in college, Allaire created NativeNet, which created a decentralized communications and collaboration platform for Native American tribal schools in the Midwest, built on top of UUCP, an early internet protocol for distributed communications.
While at Macalester, Allaire became more politically active, finding a particular interest in U.S. foreign policy and global human rights issues, including the impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of authoritarian capitalist regimes in the east, and the Balkan Wars.
Upon his graduation from Macalester, Allaire found that the Internet was “the central passion” in his life. In the fall of 1993, he launched an Internet-consulting firm, Global Internet Horizons, aimed at helping media publishers and marketers understand and build a presence on the nascent World Wide Web.
During 1994-1996, Allaire collaborated with prominent American linguist and political activist, Noam Chomsky, and his wife Carol to develop the first comprehensive online archive of his political works. Chomsky’s libertarian socialist and globalist views resonated with Allaire.
In early 1994, Allaire became convinced that the architecture of the Web could disrupt how software was built and distributed, transforming the browser from being a document browsing system into a full online operating system for any kind of software application.
In 1995, Jeremy and his brother J.J. Allaire, along with a group of close college friends, founded their own web company, Allaire Corporation, using $18,000 of J.J.’s savings. Allaire Corporation aimed to provide easy-to-use web development tools.
The brothers invented ColdFusion, a rapid web application development platform designed to easily connect simple HTML pages to a database using its associated scripting language, ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML). ColdFusion was widely used, and companies including Myspace, Target Corporation, and Toys R Us (along with millions of other websites) relied on the technology from Allaire to develop their online properties.
Allaire Corp. grew rapidly, from just over $1M in revenue in 1996, to $120M in revenue in the year 2000, growing to over 700 employees and operating with offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. In addition to its flagship product ColdFusion, Allaire launched HomeSite, which became the most popular Windows HTML Editor in the world, and JRun, one of the first and most widely adopted Java app servers.
Allaire also helped to pioneer foundational ideas in open distributed computing based on light-weight HTTP-based distributed objects. In particular, the company developed the Web Distributed Data Exchange (WDDX) in 1998, an open source format for using HTTP for simple remote procedure calls, a precursor to the adoption of REST and JSON for web software APIs.
Allaire Corp. had its IPO in January 1999 and was acquired by Macromedia in March 2001 for US$360M in a deal that included cash and stock. As a result of this acquisition, Jeremy Allaire became CTO of Macromedia.
As CTO of Macromedia, Allaire helped to develop the Macromedia MX platform, a suite of software tools and servers for building and deploying content rich, interactive software applications on the Web.
After the Allaire/Macromedia merger, as CTO, Allaire helped to drive platform and product strategy for Macromedia, including adding capabilities into Flash Player (a more advanced language runtime, web services connectivity, a component model) that enabled it to become a widely used platform for interactive software on the Web.
When Macromedia added video playback features into Flash Player in March 2002, Allaire became enthralled with the idea that the ubiquitous distribution of Flash Player on 98% of PCs in the world, combined with growth in broadband and WiFi adoption, would lead to a video publishing revolution on the Web. He started an internal product project at Macromedia code-named ‘Vista’ that enabled easy browser based capture, upload and publishing of video into any website, blog or instant message. When Macromedia decided not to pursue this project, Allaire left the company.
In February 2003, Allaire became technologist and executive-in-residence at the venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners. While at General Catalyst Partners, Allaire focused on identifying investment opportunities in broadband media, mobile content, internet identity and security, and other Internet technologies.
During his time at General Catalyst, Allaire began to incubate Brightcove, which was originally operating under stealth as Video Marketplace, Inc. or Vidmark, and he left General Catalyst in 2004 to launch this new venture.
In 2004, Allaire founded Brightcove, an online video platform that distributes video content across devices.
Brightcove filed for its initial IPO in 2012 with a valuation of around US$290M. Allaire stepped down as Brightcove’s CEO in the second quarter of 2013 to serve as Chairman of the Board.
In October 2013, Allaire launched Circle, a digital currency company that aims to bring digital money like Bitcoin to the mainstream, with US$9m in Series A funding from Jim Breyer, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst Partners.
Circle closed an additional US$17m Series B in March 2014 in a round led by Breyer Capital, Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners, and Oak Investment Partners. The company announced simultaneously the release of its product to a limited audience.
Allaire has said of Circle and Bitcoin, “We want to make this as easy to use as Gmail, Skype, and other consumer services on the Internet today.”