by Adam Smith
Four years ago, Xobni was still an idea, and I was 21 years old. The company and I have come a long way since the early days in my dorm room at MIT. Now Xobni has been downloaded over five million times, the company has raised over $30M, and at 25, I can finally rent a car without additional fees!
Founders’ roles change almost daily in a fast growing startup. For me, I was able to move off the engineering critical path when we convinced Frank Cort to join Xobni and lead our engineering team. Based on his great work, we promoted Frank to VP of Engineering last year.
In the last four years, the engineering team has accomplished remarkable things. Initially we were told that what we wanted to do in Outlook couldn’t be done. Later we were told that what we had in mind for the BlackBerry wasn’t technically feasible. And even people inside the company were dubious when we announced the time frame to port Google’s brand new contextual Gmail gadget platform to Outlook. It quickly became part of the culture to build things where others had failed; we thrive on hitting high notes nobody thought possible.
And it is in this spirit, I am excited to pass the flag to Peter Monaco.
In our quest to find the best and brightest CTO, Peter stuck out as the sure winner. Let me just highlight a few the things that impressed us. Peter earned his undergrad degree in CS from Dartmouth College, and his Masters in Computer Language Processing from Cambridge. After time at the world-famous Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Peter co-founded Nuance (NUAN) in 1994, and helped take it public in 2000. It is still the leader in voice recognition today. He was later vice president of application engineering at recognized technical leader Tellme, which was acquired by Microsoft for a reputed $800M in 2007.
The reference checks we made on Peter were remarkable. Everyone we spoke with about Peter raved about him. We heard over and over again, “one of the best in the business.” In fact, we felt challenged to find someone to say something bad about him, so we poked around for the grumpiest engineers from his former teams. But, alas, all we got was “about the only manager in my career I would work for again.” Just amazing.
I am pumped to have Peter join Frank to lead technology and engineering at Xobni, and I look forward to collaborating with them on our plans for world domination. And while I will remain actively involved in helping Xobni, I have decided this is a good time for me to give up my day-to-day role at Xobni and pass the reigns to Peter and Frank. I am keeping my seat on the board of directors and I will be actively involved as an advisor wherever the team needs me.
I’m more confident and more excited than ever about Xobni’s future. We’re in great financial shape, have solid revenue, strong leadership, and, most importantly, have a kick-butt engineering team to build the best products in email search and relationship management. For me, I need a little rest and will start dabbling around on some new ideas.
Thanks to all of our loyal customers and the amazing Xobni team for your support.
All the best,