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Cable Marketing Guy Seeks 'Freaks' on the Web

1/28/2013 5:24 AM

What’s freakier than cable TV? The Internet, of course.

Edgar Villalpando left his post as head of marketing for interactive TV vendor ActiveVideo Networks last year to form Zowwi, a startup developing what he describes as a search tool that will cull info from “millions of passionate ‘freaks’ living on the Web.”

“I saw an opportunity to reduce the noise-to-signal ratio of information on the Web,” said Villalpando, who previously also worked in marketing for HBO and DirecTV.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Zowwi plans to launch in private beta in the first quarter, Villalpando said. He declined to reveal the privately- funded startup’s backers, and said Zowwi will announce partners at launch.

To Villalpando — who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA — tapping into the wellspring of “pre-curated” knowledge from the Internet’s subject-matter experts will make Zowwi stand out from the crowd.

“Everyone’s a freak about something,” he said. “And the information you collect around your passion is more valuable than what’s available on the Web.”

Zowwi will need some especially special sauce to vie with the likes of Internet heavyweights Google and Facebook, which are looking to better merge social and search.

But in any event, it seems as if Villalpando is having fun. Zowwi’s site last week listed “Bjorn Yester” as “VP of product” among its management team — which was just a joke, Villalpando explained a bit apologetically. He added that Zowwi has hired a CTO and other execs, which will be announced shortly.

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