Blog Post

NetVibes, now with one less CEO

Netvibes, the Paris-based personalized page start-up, which till recently had to co-CEOs, Tariq Krim (also the founder) and Pierre Chappaz, now has one less CEO. Chappaz is leaving Netvibes and instead will be focusing on Wikio, his personalized blog and news search service Wiki-related start-up that is now said to have two million unique visitors a month.

krimchappaz.jpgIn a blog post announcing his decision, Chappaz hints at some long standing disagreements with Krim about the future of Netvibes.

The buzz around the service in the blogs and in the media was impressive. Tariq presented the whole of his original vision for Netvibes …a vision that seduced many, myself first.Strategies of distribution and monetization are the two points of disagreement between Tariq and I. We have a different vision of the evolution of Netvibes Universes.. It’s of no use to expose these kind of details in public..

Netvibes, and other personalized page start-ups are entering a tenuous phase, where they face not only increased competition from each other, but also face increasingly energized large companies, that are preparing their one personalized page offerings.

AOL, for instance is introducing MyAOL, that in early testing by us proved to be more than impressive. Google is using cash to attract developers to its iGoogle platform, raising the stakes even higher. With such fierce competition looming, Krim and Netvibes will have to battle hard to keep attracting new users. Netvibes has raised over $15 million in venture investments from the likes of Accel Partners and Index Ventures

PS: I will see Krim later this week in San Francisco, and will have an update at that point.

19 Responses to “NetVibes, now with one less CEO”

  1. @Gopi,

    Your make a good point except a lack of audience puts heavy downward pressure on CPM’s. My points are tied together, so what you refer to as a no brainer isn’t a no brainer. This likely explains the departures and disagreements on monetization strategy.

  2. One last word about us: Wewbag Mobile shows that one of the next frontier is the widget synchronisation between a personalizable page and its real widgets on mobile. (

  3. sarah

    @Mike – the Universe feature has been delayed for a long time. As far as I know Pageflakes and YourMinis had that feature since 2006. You might want to check that out. And yes, I am a Pageflakes user so of course I am biased.


  4. … but also face increasingly energized large companies, that are preparing their one personalized page offerings.

    Yeah, don’t forget Bubbletop goes live very soon. A beta invite is in your mailbox, Om.

    Everyone else: let me know if you want a pre-launch beta invite account.

  5. Curtis, i agree with your first concern, user acquistion is a big problem for this startpage companies as there is no viral growth component in this business. The only way to acquire users (beyond the geek crowd) is to partner with ISP’s or OEM’s and thats sure going to be very expensive.

    But your second concern (monetization) is a no brainer. Being a internet gateway/tollgate is a very profitable business, a simple search partnership alone can yield north of $20 CPM’s.

  6. I am somewhat suspect of personalized pages as businesses. This is not because I don’t find them interesting, or cool. I do have a Pageflakes page. Problem is twofold:

    1. I still have MyYahoo, iGoogle, and now Pageflakes as well. I don’t want to give up my registration, plus a little nostalgic towards my original MyYahoo page.

    2. I’m not clear on where the revenue comes from these “businesses”. I see high churn, limited page views, and lack of stickiness in general as problems. I can’t see how VC’s will get a substantial return on their investments.

    Just my $.02.

  7. “which till recently had [to] co-CEOs”

    Just call me a co-editor :)

    I dunno about Wikio… their Alexa stats show a flat-lined (or slightly declining) visitation rate. Leaving an established startup might be somewhat risky, although I’m sure part of it has to do with “co-CEOs” – did they both have to report to each other, and who did the lower level management report to? One, or both?

    Sounds a little complicated…

  8. I hope their plan to unleash the Universes still goes forward. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to curate my own public Netvibes page and share it with my friends. It seems like this will be a great way to popularize such a great resource.