Monday, November 22, 2004

Blinkx trying to raise £20m, fire co-funder


IT IS just as well Kathy Rittweger knows all about “search”. After a bust-up at Blinkx, the internet search company she founded, the engaging American entrepreneur is looking for a new job. Unfortunately, Kathy has fallen out with her partner, Suranga Chandratillake, the former technology whiz at Autonomy.

Blinkx appears to have conducted its own intuitive search for Rittweger’s replacement. Mark Opzoomer, who used to run Yahoo in Europe, was appointed chief executive only days after Rittweger gave an upbeat interview to The Times. In an e-mail, Rittweger told us: “I have left Blinkx. But I’m bound by confidentiality and cannot discuss the ‘why’.”

Opzoomer has been brought in to help the firm raise £20m. In the wake of Google’s soaring share price, search engines are hot, and Blinkx wants its share of the investment dollars.
Opzoomer kept a low profile at Yahoo. His CV strangely omits his time as co-chief executive of Talkcast Corporation, one of the most ill-considered and chaotic flowerings of the dotcom boom. This is a big claim, but Prufrock has it on good authority — our financial editor, Paul Durman, once worked for Opzoomer there.