Mysterious mobile payments startup Clinkle has had no trouble attracting both cash and tech celebrities to its cause. Now it’s stocking up on experience as well. The Palo Alto ‘stealth’ company announced on Tuesday it has hired former Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy as its new COO.
McCarthy certainly brings industry expertise to the fledging company since many of the company’s employees – including its 22-year-old CEO Lucas Duplan – are being pulled directly out of Stanford University’s computer science department. McCarthy served as Netflix’s financial chief from 1999 to 2010, keeping the books during the video darling’s most rapid period of growth and its transformation into a streaming content giant as well as leading the Netflix’s IPO in 2002.
McCarthy left Netflix shortly before the debacle over splitting its DVD mail order and streaming operations into two businesses, and since then he’s been making the rounds on tech company boards, making his own investments and advising Technology Crossover Ventures.
This time around McCarthy will be on board when his chosen company makes its first dollar. Clinkle hasn’t launched its first product yet. In fact, it’s given few details about what that product will actually be. We know Clinkle plans to enter the smartphone mobile payments space, challenging the likes of Google Wallet, Square Wallet and PayPal. We know Clinkle plans to start off focusing on college campuses. Everything else remains a mystery.
Whatever Clinkle has planned, McCarthy has swallowed the Kool-Aid, but he’s certainly not the only one. A dozen prominent investors, including Peter Thiel, Richard Branson and Andreessen Horowitz all lined up to back Duplan’s company, which raised an astonishing $25 million seed round. There’s something in Duplan’s PowerPoint pitch that’s causing both money and talent to jump on board. McCarthy was hardly modest in his own estimations of Clinkle’s potential.
“Clinkle is one of those rare Netflix-like opportunities, only bigger,” McCarthy said in a Clinkle statement. “Lucas has a grand vision for broad-scale disruption of a huge consumer market enabled by growth in mobile devices and brilliant software innovation. That’s why Clinkle has been funded by some of the smartest money in Silicon Valley and why I signed on to be Lucas’ partner.”