HomeAway co-founder Brian Sharples takes the helm of Twyla (for now)

Twyla, a nearly three-year-old, venture-backed startup that collaborates with artists to create exclusive prints for sale at its site, has a new CEO.

In June, Brian Sharples — who founded the 10-year-old, vacation rental marketplace HomeAway, acquired in 2015 for a whopping $3.9 billion by Expedia — quietly took the helm of the young company, after one of his co-founders in Twyla, former CEO Matt Randall, stepped away from the role.

According to media reports in Austin, Tex., where Twyla is based, Randall was sued last year by the co-founders of the Pop Austin International Art Show, who alleged that Randall, another co-founder of the art show, had diverted money from the young arts organization to fund Twyla. The co-founders, Steve and Lana Carlson, didn’t respond to our requests for more information this week, but Randall tells us the lawsuit “has been settled, and sadly, I am not at liberty to comment about it.”

Randall adds that while it was “an honor to serve as CEO of Twyla” and he is “really proud of what we as a team accomplished during my tenure,” he has now “moved on to start a new company which I am very excited about.”

Twyla, which sells art at prices that range from $1,000 to $5,000, had raised $14 million in funding last fall led by GV, with participation from earlier investors IVP and Redpoint Ventures. The company has so far raised $19 million altogether.

GV, IVP and Redpoint declined to comment for this story. A spokesperson for Twyla, for which Sharples previously served as chairman, tells us via email: “The lawsuit against Matt Randall by his former business partners, which was documented in select media outlets back in October, has been settled. He’s now pursuing new opportunities and I hope you understand that we can’t comment further on the matter. Brian Sharples, a founder of Twyla and chairman of the board, took over as acting CEO several months ago.

“While we’ve seen solid quarter-to-quarter growth since the launch of the company, we’re actively pursuing a new CEO to the take the company to the next level.”

Sharples had left his position as CEO of HomeAway — one of Austin’s most iconic tech companies — in September of last year.

 Image courtesy of Inc.