Online learning site Grockit is scaling up its leadership team after raising $7 million last May. Today it is announcing that it is hiring Roy Gilbert as CEO. Gilbert is Google’s director of user operations and policy, in charge of many non-advertising operations. He helped set up Google’s India operations and grew it from 20 people to 1,000, and was the first business manager for Gmail.
Founder Farb Nivi recruited Gilbert, who will also be taking a board seat. Nivi will be president, chief product officer, and chairman. “I kind of look at him as our Eric Schmidt,” says Nivi, who came back getting hit by a minivan last year to keep his startup going and growing.
Gilbert served in the military driving nuclear submarines, and yes, he was a boy scout. But he also comes from a family of teachers, and he and his wife started a school in Hyderabad while he was in India for underprivileged children called the Rainbow Primary School. So he has education chops as well. “I pretty much can’t believe we landed him,” says Nivi.
Nivi also recently hired a chief marketing officer, Chris Strausser, who created the Jamba Juice brand, and previously worked at PepsiCo and Kaplan. Knewton, another online education startup, also recently made a top executive hire. The whole education space is definitely heating up.