UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering University of California San Diego
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ECE Alumnus’ Web Analytics Company Acquired by Google

Paul Muret credits his UCSD education, both as a student and as a research assistant, for the engineering know-how that helped create his successful web analytics company, Urchin Software Corporation. The privately-held San Diego-based company was acquired by Google in May.

"The Jacobs School is becoming recognized for what it has always been: an engineering school that is difficult, challenging, and right up there with the best universities in the nation," says Muret. "UCSD is pushing the envelope in many areas including high performance computing and Internet technologies. It is the perfect training ground for engineers."

Indeed, many of Urchin's employees fit Muret's profile- UCSD alumni turned UCSD employees who, as systems administrators and network operators in research laboratories, gained valuable experience working on complex IT systems.

Muret was writing visualization and analysis software for the ECE Space Physics Group when he caught the Web bug. "I remember seeing Mosaic and thinking, this is it!" says Muret. Not long after, in 1995, Muret and his friend Scott Crosby started a website development business called Web Depot (later renamed Quantified Systems). But it wasn't until 1997, that the idea for Urchin took off.

"One of our large clients was struggling with the fact that it took 24 hours to process a single day's worth of website tracking results. We tried out our new analytics tool, and it took 15 minutes to process the same data .That's when the light bulb went off - that Urchin was for real. People were investing money in their websites, but had no idea how to analyze the return."

The years that followed were difficult, as the company phased out its website development services, and fine-tuned the Urchin software. All while weathering a high-tech recession that directly hit their customer base. A breakthrough came in 2000 when host Earthlink signed on to use Urchin for reporting to its customers.

"We went after the fishing boats, not the fish, which allowed us to get in front of a lot of people very quickly." Ultimately, Urchin emerged in 2003 as one of the dominant players in the Web analytics playing field.

"I give credit to our great team of engineers, including our Jacobs School alumni," said Muret. "They were driven to succeed, and with their deep engineering knowledge they were prepared to deal with the complexities of giant hosting sites."

Today, Urchin lays claim to more than 40 contracts with world's leading web hosts. Now Google plans to make Urchin's software tools available to web site owners and marketers to better enable them to increase their advertising return on investment and make their websites more effective.

Urchin's management team (l-r) Brett Crosby, V.P., Marketing; Scott Crosby, V.P,. Sales; Paul Muret, CEO; and Jack Ancone, V.P., Corporate Development.