Of the thousands of people who started software companies in the go-go 1990s, surely Louis Liebenberg followed the most tortuous path to the helm of a software start-up. For one thing, it went through the Kalahari bush. Liebenberg is the owner of CyberTracker Software Ltd., a four-person company in Cape Town, South Africa. CyberTracker's acclaimed program for Palm and Pocket PC handhelds simplifies and automates the task of monitoring the locations, populations, and movements of wildlife. Available free at http://www.cybertracker.org, the software has been a huge hit with wildlife officials, conservationists, zoologists, field biologists, animal trackers, and antipoaching officers. Nearly 2000 people per month have been downloading Version 3 of the software.
"Louis Liebenberg is a fascinating person," says Jeff Hawkins, chief technology officer of Palm Inc., in Sunnyvale, Calif. "When people ask me about the most interesting application for handheld computers I have seen, I tell them about Louis and CyberTracker."