Former MySpace SVP of Engineering Allen Hurff is launching a startup incubator in Southern California, according to
TechSlate TrendSlate, which cited his LinkedIn page. It’s unclear at this point what it will be called, although there’s some speculation that it will be known as “WebSquared” since Hurff recently reserved a Twitter account with that name. Hurff left MySpace in June, about two months after Owen Van Natta took the helm as the social networking site’s CEO.
Since Van Natta was appointed, many top MySpace execs have left: Max Engel, one of the company’s top engineers; Travis Katz, who headed up the international division; E.J. Hilbert, its director of security enforcement; Jamie Kantrowitz, SVP of strategy and global marketing for MySpace Music; and Manny Miravete, who was VP of Hispanic sales and strategy for MySpace Latino. With Hurff’s plans out in the open, where are the rest of these former MySpace employees now?
Though Engel’s LinkedIn page doesn’t offer many clues, Kara Swisher over at AllThingsD reported in July that he joined Blue Rover Labs, a startup run by fellow former MySpace execs Amit Kapur, Jim Benedetto and Steve Pearman. No details have been released as to what Santa Monica, Calif.-based Blue Rover Labs is up to other than who’s working there, however. According to Swisher, Katz was also planning to move to California to work for a startup. Meanwhile, Hilbert has assumed the role of compliance and online security chief at Epic Advertising. Neither Kantrowitz nor Miravete have publicly disclosed what they’re going to do next.
The latest employee departure came after MySpace’s iLike acquisition last month. Van Natta wrote in a blog post that the social network had hired media consulting firm Media Link to manage its sales organization and that MySpace’s president of sales and marketing, Jeff Berman, had “decided to leave the organization to explore other opportunities after almost three and a half years of managing a highly diverse set of responsibilities at MySpace.” According to Berman’s LinkedIn page, it appears he hasn’t found a new job yet.
But with all the leadership shakeups happening at the social network, will MySpace users notice a difference? The company is in the midst of rolling out a new email service and the iLike acquisition is sure to bring some changes. One way or another, Van Natta is clearly doing what he can to keep the floundering social network afloat amidst the growing popularity of Facebook and Twitter.