Who Is James H. Clark?

James H. Clark is a serial and successful entrepreneur and computer scientist, perhaps best known for co-founding Netscape with Marc Andreessen in 1994. Netscape Navigator was the market leader in web browsers in the early days of the internet, becoming the dominant browser in terms of usage share in the 1990s. However, because it was not free to use, it ultimately lost market share to Microsoft's free competitor, Internet Explorer. Netscape was eventually purchased by America Online (AOL) in 1998, making Clark a billionaire. Clark started Netscape with a $4.1 million investment and exited the company with a $1.2 billion payout.

Key Takeaways

  • James H. Clark is a serial and successful entrepreneur, perhaps best known for co-founding Netscape in 1994 along with Marc Andreessen.
  • Jim Clark is also known for multiplying his wealth through timely tech investments in companies, such as Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Palantir.
  • His latest startup is a venture called CommandScape, a smartphone app that controls everything from a building's alarms and cameras to its lighting and thermostat.

Understanding James H. Clark

The demise of Netscape Navigator was actually central to Microsoft's antitrust trial, the result of which was a ruling that stated that Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system was a monopolistic, and therefore illegal, business practice. Regardless, by the time this ruling was made, it was too late for Netscape because Internet Explorer had already become the dominant web browser.

Clark's other ventures include founding Silicon Graphics, a company that produced high-quality visual effects for film and 3-D images for engineers. Silicon Graphics counted George Lucas' LucasFilm and Steven Spielberg among its customers, and, by 1991, Silicon Graphics had become a global leader in the production of Hollywood movie visual effects and 3-D imaging.

Clark also founded Healtheon, which merged with WebMD, in addition to being the original investor and chair of the digital photo sharing and storage website Shutterfly, which was founded in 1999. Clark was also an early investor in many famous tech companies that have paid off handsomely.

History of James H. Clark

Born in Plainview, Texas on March 23, 1944, James H. Clark joined the Navy after dropping out of high school. In the Navy, Clark ran a side business making loans to other sailors.

He later returned to continue his formal education, beginning with taking classes at Tulane University's University College. Although he didn't have a high school degree, he was eventually admitted to the University of New Orleans, where he earned his bachelor's and a master's degree in physics. Clark eventually earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. Clark went on to become an associate professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University and a major benefactor of the James H. Clark Center at Stanford, the location of the bioscience research program at Stanford.

While Jim Clark is best known as the co-founder of the internet pioneer Netscape, he has since multiplied his wealth through timely tech investments in companies such as Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Palantir. His latest startup is a venture called CommandScape, an app that controls everything from a building's alarms and cameras to its lighting and thermostat. As of 2021, Forbes estimates that Clark's net worth is over $3 billion, making him one of the wealthiest men in America.

An ocean lover, his yachts include the 300-foot sailing yacht Athena and the 100-foot racing sailboat Comanche. He is also a well-known philanthropist, contributing mainly to institutions of higher education, such as Stanford University and Tulane University. He is also a member of the board of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Clark has been married four times. He is presently married to Kristy Hinze, a former Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated model. The divorce from his third wife of 15 years, Nancy Rutter—a Forbes journalist—is reported to have cost him $125 million in cash and assets in the settlement.

Clark has two daughters with his wife Kristy Hinze: Dylan Vivienne and Harper Hazelle.