Emre Sokullu picture

Emre Sokullu

Founder of Grou.ps Inc.
Social, Graph Theory, AI
for the last 10+ years.
❤ Defne, my daughter.

Tested on Chrome and Firefox. Based on Violet theme.

Not to anyone's surprise, the dude you see in the left-hand side, is me. And it's my only photo with a bow tie, because it was the only time I ever wore one.

My name is Emre (pronounced Am-Ray) and I'm the founder and CEO of Grou.ps which is one of the first, if not first, **private** social networking platforms. I've started it in late 2005.

Grou.ps is today part of Grou.ps Inc, a small profitable social networking company located in Silicon Valley and Istanbul.

Grou.ps, at its peak as a free service, boasted 8 million monthly unique visitors (accordingly to Google Analytics) at a time when Facebook had 250 million monthly actives (2010 baby). Today it serves a smaller audience, though all from paying customers, including some marquee names worldwide.

Since then, we've been working hard toying with new ideas and amassing a portfolio of intellectual property via patent applications, while building up the business in new categories. Owen Thomas, of ReadWrite, sums up this period and our ongoing efforts as follows (edited for brevity):

[...] It’s been a long time since ReadWrite caught up with Grou.ps founder and CEO Emre Sokullu [...] In 2008, his startup raised financing and launched its social groupware product, which at its peak had 8 million monthly unique users and 100 million monthly pageviews.

The Great Recession hit, and Sokullu turned Grou.ps into a paid service in an effort to generate revenues. That worked—the company turned profitable in 2012—but at the cost of torpedoing Grou.ps’s growth.

What Sokullu found was that about half of the remaining active communities on Grou.ps were fitness-related, like Ohio’s Columbus Running Club. [...] That inspired GymGroups. [...]

The Grou.ps story is still developing...

Prior to Grou.ps I worked at hakia, an AI startup (before it was cool) which was my first step to a work visa in the US. hakia's semantic search technology was a predecessor to Google's -what we call today- Knowledge Graph. I joined hakia after a short internship stint at Princeton University Wordnet Project which was also my first time in the US.

During college (Bogazici University) from 2001 to 2005, I worked on several projects. Dilmaca, now open source, was a web-scale machine translation software that did a decent job for a mechanical approach. Although the challenges were of academic level (it took 10 years for convolutional neural networks to arrive), and I was in a position where I needed to earn money faster. Having realized Dilmaca wouldn't monetize anytime soon in local market conditions, I stopped it and moved on to something else, Turkix, which paved the way to a small acquisition (at the age of 20!), hence some financial relief.[*]

Turkix was the the first Linux distribution that supported all Turkic languages. Eventually Datron, then the leading laptop producer in Turkey, approached us (now that I was part of a larger entity) to bundle it with their low-end models and replace Windows. As part of Turkix, I also led Apache Software Foundation's Turkey operations, built a community of volunteers and hatched the first version of Turkish httpd documentation. Last but not least, SimpleKDE, which was a desktop environment that came with Turkix gained so much traction that I got invitation from KDE headquarters to join their KDE Quality team; a proud moment for a 20-years-old kid.

So this was a "quick" summary of my professional life in reverse chronological order. As my track record shows, my interest areas include social, social graph and AI.

* Nevertheless, I don't regret my time spent on Dilmaca, because it was then that I've started thinking about statistical methods, artificial intelligence and semantic graphs -- which later on helped me to get an internship at Princeton and a job at hakia.

Patents (w/ pending and provisionals)

You can reach me via the first letter of my first name followed by my last name, at, google's hosted email service. I don't promise that I am responsive but I try.

Favorite Stocks

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Keywords (a.k.a. Tags)
caffe, tensorflow, cuda, php, hack, hacklang, c++, cpp, social, social graph, graph theory, linux, thrift, python, java, j2se, princeton, bogazici, galatasaray, hakia, armador, turkix, grou.ps, gymgroups, lovebucks, kontextful, dilmaca, machine translation, pattern recognition, opestack, openstack swift, aws, amazon s3, ai, svm, opencv.