BitTorrent Inc. has hired veteran tech entrepreneur Ro Choy away from Formspring, where he served as the company’s COO since last April. Choy officially started as BitTorrent’s VP of Business Development and Marketing a few days ago, joining a team of close to 100 employees as the company is looking to venture into live streaming and other new products. Choy told me during a phone conversation Monday that he is excited about the new opportunity. “BitTorrent is really a rare and iconic brand,” he said.
Choy started his career at eBay, and then went on to work for RockYou, where he oversaw a growth in revenue from $300,000 to $35M per year as the company’s chief revenue officer. He went on to found his own social Q&A start-up, which was later acquired by Formspring.
Asked about similarities between his previous jobs and BitTorrent, Choy pointed to one key asset: community. BitTorrent has 150 million active monthly users of its file sharing clients, and the company is now adding to this with additional products. It launched a personal file sharing solution simply called “Share” in January, and has been working for some time on P2P-powered live video streaming – something with the potential to “kill of television,” as BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen joked earlier this year. Choy seemed equally enthusiastic about live video during our conversation: “We are talking about democratizing live streaming,” he said.
One of the first tasks Choy has to deal with on his new job is to figure out how to brand the company’s new and existing products. TorrentFreak reported on rumors this weekend that BitTorrent may consider rebranding itself as Gyre Corp., a name that has surfaced both within the company’s software products and elsewhere. Gyre Inc. is registered to BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker, and the company has registered trademarks that describe products identical to those offered by BitTorrent, according to TorrentFreak.
It looks like the company has been mulling over how to address branding issues for some months, but BitTorrent’s iconic name isn’t likely to go away any time soon. “We are absolutely committed to the BitTorrent brand,” said Choy.