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Tuesday, April 4, 2006 - Page updated at 01:58 PM

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Speakeasy founder leaves for new venture

Seattle Times technology reporter

Mike Apgar, the founder of Seattle-based Internet service provider Speakeasy, said today he will leave the company to focus on a new venture called Ookla.

Apgar will remain involved with Speakeasy as its chairman, and Speakeasy will be a 25 percent owner of Ookla, which is based in Seattle. He launched Ookla this month as a provider of Web-based applications.

The new company is touting two programs initially. One is a file storage and distribution service called Filecloud, which allows users to store documents, videos and other files online and share them with others. Filecloud is also casting itself as a center for computer gaming files, and is offering free access to game patches and video clips.

The second program is called Speed Test, and lets users test the speed of their Internet connections.

Apgar founded Speakeasy in 1994, originally as an Internet cafe. Three years later, it began offering Internet service to customers. In the past year, the company has shifted its focus to cater to small and medium-size businesses.

In a statement announcing Ookla, Apgar said that Speakeasy has reached a stage where it will thrive without his direct involvement, and that he wanted to return to the entrepreneurial environment.

Kim Peterson: 206-464-2360 or kpeterson@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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