Founding Facebook Employee Now CEO at Harvard StartupSarah Frier
Andrew McCollum, who was on the founding team of Facebook Inc., is now leading another startup that sprouted out of Harvard University: Philo Inc.
The company, which makes technology for streaming live television on any device, has already adopted one of Facebook’s early growth tactics by choosing to offer services at college campuses first. McCollum, who was an investor and adviser to the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup, was named Philo’s chief executive officer today.
Philo is now at more than two dozen universities, and McCollum is seeking to improve the product so that it’s more widely used. He brought in $2.5 million more from investors when he decided to join the startup. Philo has a chance to succeed because none of the current solutions for streaming television, such as Aereo Inc. or Slingbox, have won the live-TV streaming market, McCollum said.
“The opportunity to crack that experience and make it better and build a product they really love is something I’m excited about,” McCollum said in an interview. He had advised the company to spread at colleges first because that strategy allows products “to achieve critical mass overnight.”
McCollum, who was most recently an entrepreneur-in-residence at New Enterprise Associates, is the latest former Facebook executive to take the helm at a new startup. The list includes Bret Taylor, who co-founded Quip Inc., and Adam D’Angelo, who co-founded Quora Inc. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this month that he wants Facebook to be thought of as “the training ground for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
McCollum said he will apply lessons from Facebook about designing products that are “fundamentally new.”
“When you’re talking about building products for this early-adopting type of audience, a lot of times you have to do things in new ways that don’t exist out there in the marketplace,” McCollum said.