Mike Volpi, the former Cisco executive who heads the online video company Joost, has joined another online video services provider as an advisor, together with a senior executive from IBM. There are reports that Ooyala, which provides its own video platform, will also be offering services to both Joost and IBM. Investors in Joost should be looking for an exit.
The former chief strategy officer of the multibillion dollar company Cisco joined the Joost start-up in 2007. The video venture from the creators of Skype appeared poised to transform the distribution of online video. As it turns out, it has so far failed to make much of an impression.
Now Mike Volpi is joining the board of advisors to Ooyala, a company that provides an end-to-end online video platform of its own, known as Backlot.
“Although it is growing, online video is still a nascent industry which will rely on innovation, cooperation and collaboration in order to achieve its promise,” said Mike Volpi. “I look forward to playing an instrumental role in Ooyala’s growth and development in this emerging market.”
Quite how Joost or its shareholders will benefit is currently unclear, although there are suggestions that Joost will use some of the Ooyala technology.
Joost abandoned its original client application in favour of a simple browser-based approach, which begs the question where its value now lies. Its aggregation of non-exclusive programming has so far demonstrated little mass appeal.
Ooyala — apparently it means cradle — was founded in 2007 by three former Google employees, raising $10 million in funding. As one might expect has a strong focus on advertising and analytics. The company claims its modular and distributed framework allows it to integrate seamlessly with legacy systems and scale to millions of concurrent users. Customers include Bebo and TV Guide.
Also joining the Ooyala advisory board is Steven Abraham, head of global business services in media and entertainment for IBM.
“At their respective companies, Steven and Mike, are transforming the way traditional media is consumed and delivered on the Web,” said Bismarck Lepe, the chief executive of Ooyala. “Their strong industry knowledge, exceptional experience and technological expertise will assist Ooyala in facilitating the convergence of digital distribution and media.”