Founded by Harvard graduates James Currier and Rick Marini, Tickle was born out of their frustration that despite the dot.com boom and the rise of internet tools, even a prestigious university like Harvard still required its students to take a career aptitude test on paper instead of online.
Their initial attempts with scientific and more serious tests failed to gain a lot of traction, so the company changed direction. Tickle went massively viral when they published the now-classic “What kind of dog are you?” personality test in 2002.
Tickle leveraged a staff of psychologists to create quizzes and made money by either:
- Building tests for corporate customers to help them increase viral sharing and engagement.
- Running quizzes with built-in lead generation forms – collecting emails and user details for a wide range of advertising partners.
And it worked – Tickle absolutely crushed it. The job board Monster.com bought Tickle in 2004 for over $100 million which led to Boris running Monster’s Internet Advertising division in Europe for six years.