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Mike Volpi’s Post-Cisco Gig: Joost CEO

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It was a rumor that had been hanging in air, like thick smog over Los Angeles. Mike Volpi, till recently a rising star at router maker Cisco Systems, was said to be joining Joost as chief executive officer. Our sources said it was going to happen, but the Joost press team kept on denying it, feigning surprise at the very notion. Given that we only had a single source on that piece of information, we decided to dig deeper.

paidContent’s Staci Kramer, however, beat us to it, and reports that it is happening, citing multiple sources. We have been able to verify this piece of information independently. The news shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that Joost recently raised $45 million in venture funding from some top venture capital firms at an astronomical valuation.

The funding meant that Joost was going to be looking for a brand-name chief executive who could have immediate impact. Volpi, an Italian by birth who grew up in Japan, is a suave sort of an executive. He fits the bill of Hollywood slickness combined with Silicon Valley chops.

We had heard that Volpi was hanging around Sequoia Capital’s offices, and with Sequoia being one of the big investors in Joost; it all begins to fall in place. How successful Volpi will be at taking Joost to the next level remains to be seen. Dealing with the L.A. sharks and working with alpha geeks at large corporations require different types of skills.

10 Responses to “Mike Volpi’s Post-Cisco Gig: Joost CEO”

  1. Volpi was a key SVP who was best known for driving the famous Cisco buying spree in the 90s that led to its incredible growth (he was responsible for 70+ acquisitions I think). Additionally, as the lead for the core routing + switching business, he oversaw development of many of the company’s most important and successful R&S products, plus new emerging technologies. In fact, he has played a key role in product development and was rumored to be the next CTO before Charles Giancarlo was named to that job. In fact, the recent rumors had been that Chambers’ successor would be between these two guys. Volpi’s last role at Cisco was SVP for Service Provider technology and routing technology–in fact he had spent much of his efforts pushing the SP-related technologies, especially around cable and wireless as Cisco was trying to break into that old school business with its new school tech. Volpi’s extensive experience with start ups (through all his acquisitions at Cisco) should be an asset to Joost, especially if it relies a little bit on some technology acquisitions for growth. However, how his Valley experience will play on the Hollywood side of Joost remains to be seen. It might be good for him to become buddies with Steve Jobs for some tips and tricks there. Jobs has certainly mastered that balance beam, and I think it will be a smililar game at Joost. In fact, it will be very similar.