Songkick poaches big hitter CTO out of Google

Live bands site Songkick has achieved something fairly rare for a European startup. Rare enough to be worth a mention, at least. In common with what appears to be a trend of Google people escaping to new startups in the Valley, it’s hired a big gun out of Google’s London office.

Dan Crow, a former Tech Lead/Manager at Google for search and mobile, has an impressive CV. He’s a PhD in Machine Learning, worked at Apple and is a former a co-founder of three start-ups in the Valley including the wildly successful Blurb. He then did six years at Google in NYC and London.

Crow has worked on Google Mobile Apps, developing Google’s search applications for Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7, as well as Google Ads Professionals and Rich Media Dynamic Ads. In New York he founded and launched the Google Squared project He’s also been lead engineer on three other startups: Guru, Verb and Unicru.

Dan tells me: “I moved back to London a couple of years ago and was excited to see that the tech scene here has totally changed. There are a surprising number of very exciting startups in London. They are driven by people who understand the value of technology and, most importantly, the value of building great products that users love.”

He says he spoke to several companies when considering leaving Google and “Songkick immediately stood out”. He gives the usual reasons I guess: passionate people, great engineers. More interestingly he says the company is at point where it is getting a lot of growth and “I’ve been through this growth phase at other companies and I’ve seen many of the pitfalls and how to avoid them.”

Recently it emerged that Songkick was is in the process of raising $2 million, according to an SEC filing. Songkick indexes a host of ticket vendors, venue websites as well as local newspapers to create a database of concerts happening around the world.

Songkick was founded in 2007 by three friends – Ian Hogarth, Pete Smith, and Michelle You – and has raised $6.52 million to date. Its investor roster includes Y Combinator, SoftTech VC, The Accelerator Group and Index Ventures.

Separately, Songkick has been hard at work pumping out some interesting data lately. It’s worked out who were the hardest-working bands of 2010. And it’s announced a new integration with SoundCloud, allowing artists to publish their upcoming gigs on Soundcloud via Songkick.