CrowdFlower Co-Founder Lukas Biewald Becomes CEO (Again)

CrowdFlower, a startup that helps businesses manage crowdsourced labor, has named a new CEO — co-founder Lukas Biewald.

The company, formerly known as Dolores Labs, launched at the TechCrunch50 conference in 2009. Biewald actually served as CEO for most of its history, but in August of last year, Woody Hobbs was named CEO, and Biewald stepped down to become executive chairman (a job that seemed to mostly involve evangelizing for CrowdFlower, while also building iPhone apps as a hobby).

Biewald (who I lived with briefly in college) tells me the decision to take back his old job is relatively recent, and that he pitched the board of directors on a return to the company’s roots. CrowdFlower started out as a self-service product, which Biewald says has “stagnated” as the company focused on enterprise sales: “That was a little bit frustrating to watch.”

That doesn’t mean CrowdFlower will ignore enterprise customers, Biewald says — he just doesn’t want to pursue them using the traditional sales model. He points to Jigsaw and as examples he wants to follow, particularly the way they’re able to serve large and small customers without a huge salesforce.

So Biewald laid off part of the sales and marketing team and plans to expand engineering and product. Hobbs is leaving the company. And CrowdFlower is announcing two new board members — founder Gary Kremen (who was already an investor) and Jigsaw founder Jim Fowler.

“CrowdFlower is a leader and an innovator in the crowdsourcing space,” Fowler said in an emailed statement. “I am excited to join the board and look forward to watching CrowdFlower continue to grow its vision and expand its technology.”