It must be something in the air. Spring perhaps. But when high level employees start to leave perfectly good startups before a liquidity event, there’s usually something pretty important that they think they need to work on. A recent example is Twitter creator Jack Dorsey starting his own mobile payments company. And today we saw Digg’s Lead Architect Joe Stump announce his departure to start something new.
It turns out Stump has teamed with Matt Galligan, who founded Social Thing and sold it to AOL last August. Big company life wasn’t for Galligan, he said in a phone interview this evening. “I’m an ideas and products guy, and needed to try something new.”
So what’s the new company? It’s Crash Corp., a “Alternate Reality Mobile Gaming” startup. Their games will mix the real world with fictional story lines – expect the first title later this year on the iPhone. They’ll also build on other mobile platforms, Galligan says.
Galligan, who leaves AOL at the end of this month, will be CEO of Crash Corp.; Stump takes the CTO role once he leaves Digg full time in June. The company, which will have dual offices in Boulder and San Francisco, has yet to raise funding, Galligan says, but they’re starting to pitch angels and venture capitalists now. My guess is they’ll be funded in short order.
One thing to note: Stump has clearly been working on Crash Corp. for at least a few months. On March 14 he said in a now deleted blog post (cached version here) that the company would launch classic games against your friends on the iPhone using Facebook connect. It sounds like it has evolved significantly since then.
Crash Corp is pleased to announce the launch of three classic games that you can play against your Facebook friends via Facebook Connect. We started Crash Corp built on the simple idea that playing classic games with your friends should be simple and, thanks to our friends at Facebook, we’re bringing these games to you.
The iPhone SDK for Facebook Connect delivers the familiar Facebook experience that will allow you to seamlessly take your Facebook friends and identity with you to your iPhone games. Of course, Facebook Connect for the iPhone also lets you share your gaming experience back with your friends on your Facebook profile.
Today we’re announcing three games that allow you keep track of multiple games using your built-in iPhone inbox and play at your leisure, against your Facebook friends, with a simple turn-based concept.
* Chess Wars lets you check your mates on Facebook. Crash Corp was founded on Garren’s idea that playing Chess against his friends on his iPhone should be easy. With Chess Wars we hope to realize Garren’s vision.
* Checker Wars brings back a classic, an old favorite of pretty much everyone. Why not challenge your friends and relive a little bit of your youth while you’re at it?
* Reversi Wars is a subtle and nuanced strategy game that has been a favorite of Joe’s for years. He’s looking forward to beating his friends and hopes you enjoy it as well.
We’ll be submitting all three of these applications to Apple’s App Store in the next week or two. We firmly believe that we’ve created a seamless, simple and beautifully designed social gaming experience and hope you enjoy it too.
If you’re interested in participating in our private beta please contact Joe.
Update: From Galligan regarding the classic games: “Those apps are definitely still being released, however, not under the Crash Corp name. After Joe asked me to get involved, we decided it was best to move away from the board games, so we put up the splash page on the site, and will be moving the board games to a new company name, and spinning those out. They are almost ready to hit the app store…”