A New Era Begins: New CEO, New Exec Team, and New Funding Equals New Opportunities
Earlier this week, sources told Strata-gee that Kaleidescape co-founders Michael Malcolm and Cheena Srinivasan have left the company. Malcolm is said to have left a couple of months ago and Srinivasan reportedly left the organization just last week.
See what I know about the situation at Kaleidescape…
At a company once infamous for frequent, wholesale management shake-ups, I have now confirmed that the Kaleidescape co-founders themselves have left the company. As of this writing, nothing has been officially announced by the management.
However, in a text message late yesterday, Cheena Srinivasan confirmed that he has left the company to pursue new opportunities. He couldn’t say just exactly what those opportunities were, other than to suggest it may be a new startup possibility.
Srinivasan also confirmed that co-founder Michael Malcolm has resigned from the Board of Directors “recently.” To say the company has kept these changes quiet would be a huge understatement – I have been working this story hard for a week! This news was a secret tightly held, which is consistent with the way the company has been run for years – even though there is a totally new management team.
Changes Will Undoubtedly Result from this Development
There is no question that when founders leave a company, the path adopted by the new team can begin to vector off from the original founder’s vision. However, Srinivasan has assured me that the new CEO (since last October) Tayloe Stansbury is a competent and caring executive who really appreciates what Kaleidescape is all about. He suggested to me, essentially, that he is confident the company is in good and capable hands.
Largely under Tayloe Stansbury’s guidance, the company has added a lot of new firepower to their management team, targeting areas such as marketing, engineering, and customer engagement, Srinivasan pointed out to me. And while Kaleidescape’s engineering muscle was rarely questioned, a more customer-centric approach via marketing and customer engagement is something I agree is really needed at the company.
A History of Management Turmoil
Strata-gee has told you about several instances of management turnover at the company over the years. For instance, there’s this example all the way back in 2014 when multiple people including the CEO and VP of Sales all left the company at the same time. That upheaval ended up with co-founder Cheena Srinivasan stepping in to take over the CEO role.
Then there was another example, also in 2014, where the VP of Sales and VP of Marketing were both sent packing at the same time. It seems as if 2014 was an active year for the company. This was followed in 2015 with the hiring of a new VP of Sales, who was then – only about 8 weeks later – terminated.
But perhaps one of the biggest events in the company’s history took place in 2016 when, after a protracted period of whispered rumors circulating about its instability, the company abruptly shut its doors. Despite the rumors, this was a stunning development with a big impact on integrators who relied on the brand to provide a luxury movie experience in the home via their media server line.
An Re-Appearance Almost as Speedy as Its Disappearance
Then, just about three weeks later, Kaleidescape, much as it had when it disappeared, suddenly reappeared. CEO Srinivasan found a rabid Kaleidescape customer/fan who wanted to invest in the company. He confirmed this fact in a telephone conversation with me, but he declined to identify that customer.
Whomever that unidentified customer/investor was, the funding got the company back in operation such that they were able to build a bridge to the more recent appearance of Taloe Stansbury, who joined the company’s Board of Directors as an investor and in 2020 took over Kaleidescape’s CEO role. He also led a funding round in 2020 and is himself a significant investor in the company.
A long-time tech industry executive, Stansbury sits on the board of several companies, including both tech and private equity. His career in technology has largely been on the software side, with stints at Intuit, Shutterfly, BlueJeans Network, Coupa Software, Watermark, and more. Perhaps most notably, Stansbury sits on the board of TCV Acquisitions, a private equity company.
What Does This Suggest for Kaleidescape’s Future? Malcolm and Srinivasan are Still Involved
Just what does this development mean for Kaleidescape’s future? Well, that remains to be seen. It can often be messy when the visionaries that created a company are moved out to make room for new management. However, in this case, the new management has deep experience in tech, so this may blunt the blow of such an extreme change.
But there are a couple of other key points to remember. First of all, both Malcolm and Srinivasan retain a significant percentage of ownership in the company, according to Srinivasan. They may have relinquished their daily operating roles, but they are not completely out of the picture.
Second, Srinivasan is retaining his role as an advisor to the CEO. So this will help with any transitional issues that arise, although by now, those are likely few and far between.
I’ll give the last word to Srinivasan: “Kaleidescape is in great shape now.”
See more on Kaleidescape by visiting: kaleidescape.com.