Founded in 1997 as Betsy Burlingame's graduate thesis project, Expat Exchange was quickly and widely adopted by expatriates all over the world.
In many ways, it was the perfect example of technology helping to connect a geographically-dispersed population. Internet 101, if you will.
All of the sudden, expatriates all over the world could share tips, advise each other, and commiserate about the good, bad and ugly realities of the expat experience. People who had lived abroad in the past (repatriates) marveled over how easy it would have been if only they would have had such a service.
To our niche audience of expatriates, the introduction of the web was truly a watershed moment. Suddenly, there was a broader expat world to go along with local expat clubs and a few other expat co-workers that had provided expats with limited - although critical - support for decades. That stage was a lot of fun.
And, then it happened... the internet bubble burst.Many entrepreneurs had quickly spent millions of venture capital, and they went out of business when the venture capital world drifted back to reality.
Having never taken money from venture capital, Expat Exchange was able to continue to provide a free service. At the same time, we introduced product and service providers relevant to the expatriate experience... but not too much! We found the right balance of community and content with useful resources that expats really need to manage their relocations and their new lives abroad. If it's not relevant to international relocation or living abroad, it doesn't go on our site.
And then along came Web 2.0 (you know... blogging, social networking, etc.). As the "new web" has evolved, we have introduced our expat blog, expatriate reports and other social networking features that enable our members to more easily interact in a way that makes life abroad easier.
And with our latest redesign, we are just getting started. Stay tuned...