A Web windfall helps needy kids

After selling a successful online startup, a San Francisco couple create a haven for children.

By Ian Mount, FSB contributor

(FSB Magazine) -- When married internet entrepreneurs Jennifer King and Tim Fredel were preparing to move to San Francisco's tony Sea Cliff neighborhood, they planned to sell their current home. But a suggestion from their personal trainer got the couple thinking bigger. King and Fredel decided to keep paying the mortgage and turn the house into an afterschool program that now serves 48 needy local children.

Known as the Thrive House, it features a computer lab, library, potter's wheel, and gourmet kitchen for use by the kids who drop in. Six paid, professional mentors from a local nonprofit, Friends of the Children San Francisco (fotcsf.org), are on hand every day from 2 P.M. until sundown.

King founded BioSpace (biospace.com), a publisher of regional directories and maps for the biotech industry, in 1985. A decade later, BioSpace went online as one of the first 50,000 websites. King and Fredel (who joined BioSpace in 1995) sold out in 2000 and founded Rugged Elegance (sf.ruggedelegance.com), a business that promotes San Francisco hotels, shops, and services.

King comes from a clan of entrepreneurs: In 1999 her family made a prescient investment in Baidu (baidu.com), China's top Internet search engine. King and Fredel's windfall when Baidu went public in 2005 allowed them to fund the Thrive House.

"Our minister talks about bringing healing to San Francisco," she says. "Hopefully, Tim and I can help fulfill the church's mission."  Top of page

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