Joost Snares Ex-Cisco Veteran as CEO

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Internet-TV startup Joost landed Mike Volpi, a former high-flying executive at Cisco Systems, as CEO.

Volpi, 40, resigned from Cisco in February, where he was in charge of the networking giant’s routing- and service-provider-technology group, which includes Scientific Atlanta.

He takes over for the company’s founding CEO, Fredrik de Wahl, who will remain at Joost as chief strategy officer.

In an interview with The New York Times, Volpi suggested that Joost’s peer-to-peer video service would be available not just through Internet-connected PCs, but in set-top boxes and other devices.

“Joost is a piece of software, and it can reside on a variety of platforms,” Volpi told The Times. “It could be on a television set-top box. Or potentially, it could be [embedded] in a TV set with an Ethernet connection, or on a mobile phone, or in some alternative device that might come out in the future. The flexibility is really high.”

The Joost service, which is still in a limited rollout, provides more than 100 channels of video-on-demand programming from content producers including Viacom, CBS, Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting System, Warner Bros. Records and others. Joost also has initial deals with 32 advertisers, including Intel, Nike, Coca-Cola and Hewlett Packard.

Volpi spent 13 years at Cisco, where, as chief strategy officer, he led the acquisition of more than 70 companies. Before joining Cisco in 1994, Volpi worked in HP’s optoelectronics division as a product-development engineer and product-marketing manager.

Volpi was already on a first-name basis with the founders of Joost -- Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, who also were behind Internet-phone-software startup Skype and file-sharing venture Kazaa -- having served on the board of Skype.

“Mike is the dream choice for this role,” Friis said in a prepared statement. “Mike’s leadership abilities, in combination with his vision and technological expertise, are unsurpassed and will serve as a powerful driving force in the realization of the company’s vision.”

Joost, founded in January 2006 under the code name The Venice Project, announced last month that it received $45 million in funding from Viacom, CBS, venture-capital firms Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital and Chinese multibillionaire Li Ka-Shing.

The 100-employee company is based in London, with offices in Amsterdam and New York. The company is legally incorporated as Baaima N.V. with a mailing address on Curacao, an island in the Caribbean nation of the Netherlands Antilles.

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