Last week Joost confirmed that former Cisco high-runner Mike Volpi will become the CEO. While its always good news to get a high-profile CEO, there is more to this – I think Joost is positioning itself to be a future acquisition.
Think about it. In May Viacom, CBS, Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures, and the Chinese tycoon, Li Ka-shing, invested a whopping $45 million in Joost. These people have two main ways of getting their money back (along with a nice little premium); IPO or be acquired.
1. The Serial Entreprenuer effect: So why doesn’t the IPO path fit Joost? While any company can take the IPO route, the co-founders, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, are serial entrepreneurs…they have already founded two well known companies in Kazaa and Skype, been acquired (Ebay purchase of Skype), and still gone on to start a new company (Joost). These guys have a big say in Joost, and they are more likely to sell Joost off to a worthy suitor and move on to the next big project.
2. Joost needs a CPE Platform: Joost works well on a computer screen and users flock to the Internet for interaction, but the television is (still) the best medium for long form content and advertising for long form content. Joost realizes that to be successful, they have to get on the cable set top box. Plus, Apple TV with Youtube support is already headed that way. Imagine a day when set top boxes are sold separate from the cable company (it’s actually here), then one could get a set-top box and watch Joost as well as get a cable subscription if needed.
Why is Mike Volpi a “Strategic Acquisition”? well, because he knows the cable industry and the networking infrastructure well. For one while at Cisco, he architected the acquisition of Scientific Atlanta and managed the integration into Cisco. Mike is probably the best person to architect an acquisition of Joost by someone like Cisco, or even a Google
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