Wikipedia is published by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation under the leadership of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, served as the editor-in-chief until he resigned in 2002.
Wales first launched Nupedia in 2000, envisioning it as a peer-reviewed free online encyclopedia written by experts. This was a slow, labor-intensive project and required convincing academics to volunteer large amounts of time. When Wales hired Larry Sanger as the editor-in-chief, Sanger suggested a more open wiki-based system, crowdsourcing the writing and review process. Wales agreed, and Wikipedia was launched on Jan. 15, 2001. The site's popularity continues to grow and it's pages can easily be found near the top of most Google searches.