While everyone is writing-off Bebo as being a) an expensive acquisition by AOL ($850 million in March 2008) b) a sale only two years later for virtually peanuts and c) a social network that appears to have no future in the Age Of Facebook, somehow the memo hasn’t reached them. And why not? Bebo now has its own head again and a new, hungry owner in Criterion Capital Partners, so why not go hire some people to make this happen?
The news is that it’s now hired Akash Garg as its new CTO. He comes with credentials. He was the co-founder and original technical visionary at hi5, the successful social gaming platform. It’s significant that Bebo has made this move. It’s lacked a technical visionary for years ever since co-founder and original visionary Michael Birch exited to AOL. Garg aims to bring on more engineering talent.
And on that note: Also joining Bebo as VP of operations is Aren Sandersen, former director of engineering at Oodle, the network of online marketplaces. Sandersen was Oodle’s first employee and is also a mobile expert with experience as a lead engineer at Danger (acquired by Microsoft) and as co-founder of Appitzr. And guess what? He also has experience in the hot online coupons space via CoupRecoup. Interesting.
Bebo has 117 million registered users across the U.S., the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Poland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, Pakistan and the Netherlands. However many of those are active is of course unclear.
But hiring tech people – instead of marketing – is one step on the right track.