The imeem Mafia
Last night I read Sarah Lacy's excellent post entitled Inside the DNA of the Facebook Mafia. If you haven't read it yet, you should. It not only catalogues many of the excellent startups that have come out of Facebook, but the emerging patterns amongst the bunch.
It got me thinking about my own experience at my previous startup, imeem. When I think back on imeem, I always felt that we had an incredible group of fascinating, talented, and ambitious people. While we never achieved our ultimate goals at imeem, I was sure many of these same folks would move on to something great afterwards. I told myself to keep a lookout as I was sure many would likely start their own ventures.
And sure enough, about a year since imeem's acquisition by MySpace, more than ten new exciting startups have been founded by the original imeem crew. I thought I'd take a moment to showcase some of them.
The most well known of the bunch is obviously Mixed Media Labs, the creator of the popular iPhone and Android photo sharing app, picplz. It's well known not only for it's impressive traction thus far, but because it was started by imeem's founder Dalton Caldwell and his right-hand man Bryan Berg. In addition, they have brought together many from the original crew including Tim DeGraw, Allan Hsu, and even Ali Aydar as a director. They've raised funding from Andreessen Horowitz and are a strong contender in the now heated mobile photo sharing space.
Mobile has become a popular space for many of the imeem alumni. One of our top mobile developers at imeem, Ty Amell, teamed up with our search guy, Will Palmeri, to start Stackmob, an application platform to ease the development of mobile apps. They even convinced one of the back-end rockstars at imeem, Keith Dreibelbis, to join them. Similarly, imeem's CMO and Head of Biz Dev Steve Jang went on to start Schematic Labs, which is also focusing on the mobile space. He's roped in former imeem designer Alex Katzen into the mix as well.
Some took imeem's sucess in the entertainment space and propelled it into their own incarnation of an entertainment property. Our COO Ali Aydar went on to be CEO of Sporcle, a gaming site with endlessly entertaining quizzes and more. VP of Sales David Wade went on to start Popdust, a music news, reviews, and gossip site.
Still others have gone in completely different directions, following their passions wherever they lead them. For example, Sameer Alsakran, who managed imeem's entire big data infrastructure, including our large Hadoop cluster, is continuing his work in the Hadoop space with his latest venture White Label Labs. Raj Irukulla and Gina Olsen, two folks who were always passionate about great food, went on to start their own startups in the space. Raj founded FoodPair, which helps you find recipes to make with whatever ingredient you choose. Gina started Mothergood, which produces wholesome snacks for expectant mothers.
As many of you know, I got to imeem myself because my own startup, Anywhere.FM, was acquired by imeem. As I fully expected, the three co-founders of Anywhere.FM, have now gone on to start their own new ventures as well. Anson Tsai is already having amazing success with Cardpool, the easiest way to buy and sell gift cards. Lux Chen is following his dream of getting into gaming with an upcoming iPhone\iPad game. I myself have started Connected, a personal relationship manager that brings all your contacts and conversations together in one place.
Though it's too early to tell which will ultimately be successful, I've continued to be impressed with what the imeem crew has gone on to do. Maybe one day we'll even see a post on TechCrunch about the imeem Mafia instead of the already popular Paypal or Facebook Mafias ;)
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Feb 14, 2011