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Summary:

Skype co-founder Janus Friis is at it again, launching a new, stealthy startup incubator that wants to reuse and share code across a number of projects.

Skype co-founder Janus Friis is getting ready to launch a new venture: Block Talent Partners, a recruiting agency that has been working with Friis on some of his other ventures, is currently looking for senior engineering talent for a stealthy new incubator. The objective of the new company is to ”change how products get built and startups get launched,” according to a job offer, which reads in part:

“More than just an “incubator” or “accelerator”, tbd. is assembling an elite team of engineers to create a one-of-a-kind company. Their goal is to build, launch and commercialize the hottest new products we can dream up, all with an eye towards reusable code and buttressed by a best-in-class infrastructure.”

It’s unclear what the eventual name of the company will be. However, we do know that the new company will be headed by Todd Berman, who was employee number one at Rdio, the Friis-backed digital music service that is joined at the hip with Vdio. Berman served as Rdio’s CTO until last month. Via email, he told me:

“We are not an incubator or an accelerator. We are however looking to hire great engineers who are interested in joining a startup that is trying to change the industry standard model of how startups are created.”

The idea to re-use code for launching new products may also at least in part be informed by Friis’ experience with Rdio and Vdio. Friis initially hired a separate team of designers and engineers to build Vdio. But those efforts were eventually scrapped, and Vdio was rebuilt from scratch on top of Rdio’s architecture, with most of original team being let go in the process.

So what will Tbd. build? The job posting offers no details, but it does mention that the eventual goal is to spin out the products it builds into separate companies. It goes on to offer prospective hires “the (highest) compensation in the Valley,” something that Friis can easily afford: In 2001, Friis and his co-founder Niklas Zennstroem made an estimated $1.19 billion by selling Skype to Microsoft.

This story was updated at 4:30 pm with a comment from Todd Berman as well as further details on the name of the company.

Image courtesy of Flickr user  Marcin Wichary.

  1. Randall Bennett Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    This already exists.

    It’s called Rails. :)

    But seriously, I have a difficult time with the idea that coming up with a better framework than Rails / Backbone etc. is a good use of this core team’s time, rather than just being someone like Pivotal and coming up with really badass OSS. It’s totally possible that they can come up with a better framework and tools, but most of the hard work of a product is in the domain specificity, and not in the reusable framework parts.

    Sounds like a rich fool’s folly, to me.

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    1. They aren’t talking about backbone or language, but rather the actual code itself. How many companies write the same damn code to do the same damn thing and burn engineering time doing so? Sometimes a product feature/strategy doesn’t work for a particular market but can be retooled to address another market.

      I’m actually utilizing a similar strategy, albeit, I’m more strategic and seasoned than Janus (although a little light in my checking account) when it comes to business, technology and anthropology. May the best product win :)

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