Tariq Krim, founder and CEO of Paris-based Netvibes, is stepping down work on a “new project.” He remains on the board of the company and as a non-executive strategic adviser. Netvibes COO Freddy Mini takes over as CEO.
Krim says his work transfering Netvibes “from a personal start page into a widget platform,” is done, but it’s clear that the huge competition in the widget and start ‘page space’ from Google and Yahoo will have had an effect on this move. To compete, Netvibes will no move its platform to open source and mobile compatibility, with the APIs and tools available tomorrow at Netvibes.org.
I think the mobile strategy for Netvibes is interesting. As it happens, Goojet, another Paris- based startup currently in closed beat, has a mobile widgets platform. Goojet has been doing well on the European startup competition scene, consistently winning against strong competition.
UPDATE: The backchannel to this story is starting to roll in and it doesn’t read all that good. Feedback so far is that:
1. VCs are pissed with Netvibe’s inability to find a revenue model
2. VCs want to sell the company, Tariq doesn’t. The VCs won so Krim left
3. Tariq is bored with a company that is a bit stuck in limbo
Another well placed source says: “I think we will see a second division sale in the near future (like Pageflakes).”
Will going open source be too late? Maybe. One of the problems is that Netvibes has literally lost it’s vibe. In some respects, losing a charismatic leader like Krim, who creates great press, is a real problem – not that press is everything of course.