LAUNCH Instant 001: Mocavo

Mocavo [ ]
LAUNCHER:  Cliff Shaw, founder of four companies ( owns one, owns two) as well as technologies in the genealogy space. He's thought about building Mocavo for over a decade.

WHAT: Free genealogy search engine that only searches information-rich genealogy sites. Limited to North America right now, worldwide indexing in the works.

WHEN/WHERE: Wednesday in Boulder.

WHY: Google, Bing, etc. don’t give genealogy-specific results, making it difficult to sort through the noise; there’s no free genealogy search.

Cliff tells LAUNCH:
"The market has been begging for it for over a decade.  It's tough to say why others haven't tried, but there are definitely some serious technical hurdles to building a large-scale search engine, especially one as fast as Mocavo. Thanks to shows like 'Who Do You Think You Are,' interest in family history has exploded and it's undoubtedly the right time for us to do this."

David Cohen of TechStars invested in Mocavo because Cliff is a serial entrepreneur in the genealogy space and is probably one of the few people in the world who could have built this.

LAUNCH Analysis: When’s the last time a website got you choked up? Finding the manifest and photo of the ship your grandpa came in on through Ellis Island might change that -- it did for us. Who knew there was so much disparate genealogy information online? Evidently a lot of stuff has been digitized in the past decade, but you wouldn’t know with costing anywhere from $13 to $30 a month (i.e., worth it only for serious family-history buffs).

AND ONE MORE THING: We’re kind of surprised Google missed the PR value of doing this -- guess they were too busy scanning in other people’s intellectual property without permission (zing! pow!). Seriously, how did Google miss this?

SCREEN SHOT ONE: Results for the search "calacanis."

SCREEN SHOT TWO: The manifest of a ship Jason’s grandfather was a crew member on. Apparently James Calacanis came in and out of Ellis Island on multiple trips as an engineer on steamers. Jason had never seen these before and had no idea they existed.

SCREEN SHOT THREE: Marriage notice for Jason’s grandparents on an obscure website that has done the genealogy work in Brooklyn [ ]. Again, Jason didn’t even know this existed.

1. Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter -- review of Mocavo.

2. Genea-Musings -- scroll down to see the review of Mocavo.


LAUNCH Media covers and celebrates new products, services and technology in two ways: an email newsletter and an in-person conference. LAUNCH was founded by a serial entrepreneur, former journalist and now angel investor we’re tired of promoting.


About the LAUNCH Newsletter
Our newsletter is compiled in a collaborative fashion by a half-dozen writers, researchers and industry pundits we invite to our Google Docs from time-to-time. Our conflicts are many, but our insights and facts are always well-researched, honest and to the point. We’re blunt to a fault -- by design.


About the LAUNCH Hackathon
Sometime this summer we’re going to host the first launch Hackathon, which will feature 200 hackers building prototypes of their dream product over 48 hours -- and then facing a Grand Jury of 25 angel investors who might fund on the spot. If you’ve got ideas or advice for us, email

About the LAUNCH Conference
The LAUNCH Conference rocked. That’s really all you need to know. Catch it all here if you missed it.
And we’ll have another one next year, perhaps sooner.

Advertise in LAUNCH and you’ll get a text ad like this up top for only $3,000 a week.

Walker Corporate Law Group is proud to sponsor LAUNCH
Walker specializes in the representation of entrepreneurs.