Bart and Barb O'Brien in the Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard
Barb and Bart got married the year after they met, had 2 children (Emily and Mason), and Bart pursued a career starting various companies...
He told Barb he was an entrepreneur when they met. Her response was "I am going to have to marry you because all my sisters are married to Irish entrepreneurs".
Barb had signed up for quite an adventure. They bought a house together in Piedmont when she became pregnant with Emily, then the house was sold after Emily was born to finance a temporary Halloween theme park venture called Scaregrounds.
After Scaregrounds failed, Bart went back to high tech and joined Bill Paseman to found Calico Commerce, a software company to configure complex products such as computers for the new sales channel called the internet.
After seven long years of living in rental property that was constantly being sold from underneath them, Bart's first software startup, RSA Data Security, was acquired by Security Dynamics for $250 million. Bart had sold most of the stock to finance their wedding, honeymoon, and the purchase of their first house, but fortunately just enough stock was left to purchase their second house in Los Altos Hills in 1997.
Then Calico Commerce went public in 1999 at a valuation of $1.8 billion (based on closing price day of IPO). Bart only sold a small portion of his stock before the high tech crash of 2000 and subsequent failure of Calico, but this was enough for a down payment to purchase the Costello Vineyard to make Barb's "dream of owning land in Napa Valley" come true.
On the property are 33 acres of vineyards, a bonded winery, and their home. When you visit, you will be treated to an intimate experience in their backyard sitting at picnic tables under oak trees.
Bart and Barb live on the estate with their four cats Motor, Hobbes, Chicharrón, and Malcolm XX.. Emily (24) is now graduating from Evergreen State College (Olympia WA) and starting a granola bar business. Their son Mason (22) is graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Bart is now on the Board of Directors of BioIncept, a new biotech company pursuing a new approach to treating immune disorders based on the discovery of how an embryo controls its mother's immune system. Bart has raised over $5 million for the company from angel investors, most of whom he has met at the vineyard.