While it’s true that XPays went online in 1998, it really began earlier, in the dormitories of the University of California at Berkeley. That’s where Horowitz met his current business partner, Michael Landau.
“We became friends the first day of school back in 1990,” Horowitz said. “Michael was a computer science expert. That was one of his majors at Berkeley, and he was already very skilled with the Internet, programming and whatnot. He helped me in my first job, which was selling metal fabricating equipment into Silicon Valley, right out of college. He made me a bulletin board for buying and selling machine tools. We basically became a middle-man, and did about $600,000 to $700,000 in machine tool sales in 1995. We thought, ‘Machines are cool, but we don’t want to be stuck in the machine tool business.’ It wasn’t exciting for me. I was more excited by the stuff we were doing on the Internet. Computers were just coming into their own at that point.”
So Horowitz and Landau created Official Search, an Internet search engine for finding only official sites.
“Then somebody came to us and asked, ‘What are you doing with your adult searches?’ Michael and I decided to do a deal with this adult company to sell our adult searches.”