SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Flipboard, the high-profile tablet app-maker, has hired Hulu’s former chief technology officer to be Chief Executive Mike McCue’s No. 2.
Eric Feng, currently an executive at Sand Hill Road venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said Friday he would oversee engineering and strategy at the startup, which has raised more than $60 million in venture financing and makes a popular app for reading news and magazine articles.
“Mike first identified the proliferation of mobile devices and re-imagined what the Web could be,” Feng said, adding that his experience at Hulu, which had to negotiate distribution deals with television studios, will be relevant at Flipboard. Feng’s addition could also signal the startup’s intent to become a serious video player.
McCue, a veteran entrepreneur, first announced Feng’s hire on Thursday on the Fox Business Channel.
Dubbed in its early days as a potential revenue source for traditional print publishers, Flipboard launched with fanfare in May 2010, when its servers crashed under the rush of new users.
Since then, the company has largely stayed out of the spotlight, prompting speculation in the Valley over whether it can live up to the initial hype.
Aside from Kleiner Perkins, Flipboard’s mostly media-centric backers include Index Ventures, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, former News Corp executive Peter Chernin and media investment banker Quincy Smith.
Feng’s move recalled the 1990s, when Kleiner Perkins famously cultivated a close-knit network of loyal executives who were deployed to the firm’s portfolio companies.
In recent years, the firm has revived the strategy of cross-pollinating its talent pool to recapture its glory days.
Last year, Emil Michaels, a former top executive at Tellme Networks, the company McCue founded in 1999, took the No. 2 job at Klout, another Kleiner portfolio company.
“I love Mike, the team of investors involved, and still being a part of the Kleiner family,” Feng said.
Reporting By Gerry Shih; Editing by Kenneth Barry