Where are the RIM alumni?

GigaOM has a great story about "The Growing Ex-Amazon Club and Why It’s a Good Thing”. This is essentially an extension of the Fairchildren model for seeding companies and talent. Jevon has placed MaRS in the deadpool. Austin, Joey and I have wondered about the role of early employees from successful companies at leaving to start, build and grow new startups.

It leaves me to question where are the RIM alumni? Where are the startups being started by ex-RIM employees?

You can find startups with founders from PixStream or Workbrain. You can see startups with DNA from Zero Knowledge Systems. The only RIM alumni founded startup I can find is Metranome.

Founders Wanted

I hadn’t realized how strong the motto at Reactivity was in our recruiting. We were looking for founders. John wrote about Reactivity’s beginnings back in 2004. I was lucky enough to join Reactivity as an early employee. I think I was employee number 12 and the third employee of Reactivity Austin (after Bryan Rollins and Andrew Willis). Reactivity was trying to build

A metastartup (this is a temporary name only–trying to think of a better one) is a company who’s mission is to foster a community of talented engineers and business people, with the goal of spinning off startup companies from that community, as well as to build a loosely coupled network of those companies.

It was a kieritsu, but not of businesses but of the individuals that build businesses. In recruiting new talent, whether on the design, business, marketing or engineering sides of the house, was to find founders. People that you wanted to leave Reactivity to start a new company. It meant that the goal was to develop every hire into a potential founder. You can see the alumni network of Reactivity designers, engineers and entrepreneurs around the valley. John Lilly is the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. Mike Schroepfer is the director of engineering at Facebook. Graham Miller is the CEO of Marketcetera. Lynn Pausic runs Expero Inc. Ellen Beldner is the UX Designer for YouTube. Lynn Gabbay is the founder at Novod. Andrew Nash is a Senior Director at PayPal. Bryan Rollins was VP of Product Management at MessageOne before the Dell acquisition. The Reactivity alumni can be seen around Silicon Valley, Boston and New York.

A Magical Legacy – How these guys engineered our world

Fourteen years ago, a company called General Magic promised a handheld device that would make calls, send email, play music, and do almost everything else that makes today’s iPhone so drool-worthy. “Bill and Andy’s Excellent Adventure II” (April 1994) was about the two Macintosh vets – Atkinson and Herzfeld – leading the project. Unfortunately, they were far too early. General Magic sank in 2002. But its legacy lives on, in part because the effort was a formative experience for a team of brillant young engineers. Pierre Omidyar went on to start eBay. Tony Fadell heads Apple’s iPod hardware group. Kevin Lynch cooked up Flash. And Andy Rubin created the Sidekick and Google’s Android mobile platform. Not too shabby. As for Bill and Andy, they are still adventuring excellently: Atkinson works with the artificial intelligence startup Numenta, and Hertzfeld codes for Google. – Steven Levy, Wired 16.12 December 2008

Where are all the startups founded by RIM alumni?

  • http://www.garywill.com/ Gary Will

    There are a few others — Well.ca, Miovision, and Greystone Compression come to mind in Waterloo and YOU i Labs in Ottawa — but I think your general point is correct: there aren't a lot of startups being created by RIM alumni.

  • http://www.garywill.com/ Gary Will

    (And I think in Miovision's case it was just a co-op work term, so that's probably stretching things!)

  • Andrew Louis

    Not quite a candidate but RapidMind's CEO (but not the founder) is a RIM alumnus.<br />
    <br />
    But from a friend of mine who works there right now: &quot;most of the original RIM people haven't left – life has been too good for them.&quot; Between the heavy stock compensation that these early employees received and their current exec positions, things are pretty cushy (at least for now…)

  • Jesse Rodgers

    Does RIM have alumni? Locally (and with the folks I know) RIM is more the 'employer of last resort' for defeated grad students or disgruntled UW employees. It has never seemed (to me) to be very entrepreneurial… more steady and safe.

  • http://www.garywill.com/ Gary Will

    There are a few others — Well.ca, Miovision, and Greystone Compression come to mind in Waterloo and YOU i Labs in Ottawa — but I think your general point is correct: there aren’t a lot of startups being created by RIM alumni.

  • http://www.garywill.com/ Gary Will

    (And I think in Miovision’s case it was just a co-op work term, so that’s probably stretching things!)

  • http://hyfen.net Andrew Louis

    Not quite a candidate but RapidMind’s CEO (but not the founder) is a RIM alumnus.

    But from a friend of mine who works there right now: “most of the original RIM people haven’t left – life has been too good for them.” Between the heavy stock compensation that these early employees received and their current exec positions, things are pretty cushy (at least for now…)

  • http://whoyoucallingajesse.com Jesse Rodgers

    Does RIM have alumni? Locally (and with the folks I know) RIM is more the ‘employer of last resort’ for defeated grad students or disgruntled UW employees. It has never seemed (to me) to be very entrepreneurial… more steady and safe.

  • Имуществен

    And I think in Miovision&rsquo;s case it was just a co-op work term, so that&rsquo;s probably stretching things!

  • http://socnalog.ru/vichetnedvigimost Имущественный налоговый вычет

    And I think in Miovision’s case it was just a co-op work term, so that’s probably stretching things!

  • Tim Moore

    How about Steve Carkner, P. Eng, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Panacis Medical and now on the Board of Directors of ICP? Prior to founding Panacis, Mr. Carkner was the Director of Product Development at Research In Motion (RIM) and was a key member of the team that guided RIM from pre to post IPO.

    • http://davidcrow.ca/ davidcrow

      There are folks like Dennis Kavelman now COO at Desire2Learn. The diaspora is increasing, but there was a long window before this started to happen.

  • Tim Moore

    How about Steve Carkner, P. Eng, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Panacis Medical and now on the Board of Directors of ICP?

    Prior to founding Panacis, Mr. Carkner was the Director of Product Development at Research In Motion (RIM) and was a key member of the team that guided RIM from pre to post IPO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Jo/603461791 Charles Jo

    For my SAMSUNG recruiting projects, I would love to hear from RIM folks (alumni and current employees).

    Charles Jo
    charles.jo AT sisa.samsung.com
    405.544.5687

  • sgw

    Times have changed! Ps Pushlife (acquired by Google) was founded by former RIM-er Ray Reddy. Dave Yach’s Auvik Networks is one of what must be like close to a hundred in KW now – many by youngsters with experiences at RIM … and many that are stealth.

    • http://davidcrow.ca/ davidcrow

      Things have definitely changed post 2008. Hard to believe such significant change in <6 years.