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Former LifeSize CEO Craig Malloy Hopes for 3rd Hit With Startup Bloomfire

March 26, 2012 | Hogan Keyser
craig_malloy_bloomfire.jpg
For his third startup, Craig Malloy is shifting gears.

March 26, 2012 by Lori Hawkins via Statesmen.com
-- After a successful 18-year career in the videoconferencing industry -- during which the two companies he co-founded were sold in multimillion-dollar deals -- Malloy is moving to Web-based software.

His new company, Bloomfire, helps businesses increase productivity of far-flung sales teams with an application that lets them collaborate and share information online.

Bloomfire will announce today that it has raised its first round of funding -- $10 million from Austin Ventures and California-based Redpoint Ventures.

"I wanted to do something different, and one of the things we'd always struggled with in previous companies is sharing knowledge within your teams, especially in sales organizations," Malloy said. "That's what we're tackling."

It was videoconferencing that brought Malloy to Austin from San Diego in 1994, when he took a job as a product manager at industry pioneer VTEL.

In 1996, he and four former VTEL executives founded ViaVideo, which developed a lower-cost group videoconferencing system. Two years later, ViaVideo was bought by Polycom of San Jose, Calif., for $54 million.

Malloy went to bat again in 2003, starting LifeSize Communications with ViaVideo co-founder Michael Kenoyer. Over the next six years, the company raised $81 million from investors including Austin Ventures and Redpoint and introduced the industry's first high-definition videoconferencing equipment.

LifeSize scored a home run when it was acquired by Swiss company Logitech International SA for $405 million in 2009.

Malloy, now 50, stayed at LifeSize for the next two years, and as 2011 drew to a close, he began considering his next move.

"I didn't want to do something that took a lot of time to get going," he said. "At LifeSize it took us almost three years to get our product to market because it was so complex with all the custom hardware and software."

Then Malloy learned about Bloomfire, a 2-year-old company based in Salt Lake City. "LifeSize was a customer, so I got to see it in action, and I thought it was a really interesting concept," he said. "As I was winding down my time, it occurred to me that this would be a really interesting business to buy and add capabilities to and scale."

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