Flipboard Is Turning To Video, Hiring Hulu's Ex-CTO

Flipboards Mike McCue

Photo: Robert Scoble

Flipboard CEO Mike McCue let slip in an interview with Fox Business that he’s hiring former Hulu CTO Eric Feng.Feng, most recently CEO of Erly, a small online event-planning startup, confirmed his hire in an email to Business Insider.

Flipboard makes tablet and smartphone apps that gather articles and other content from users’ social feeds and presents them in a magazine-like layout.

But Feng’s hire suggests a shift in emphasis for Flipboard, which faces increasing competition from Twitter and Facebook. (McCue once served on Twitter’s board, but left as it became clear that Twitter intended to compete directly with Flipboard with mobile apps that present personalised content in an elegant layout.)

We’ve been hearing Flipboard is working on a major new release.

Given Feng’s history at Hulu, could it involve a focus on video?

We asked Feng, “So, Flipboard plus video?”

He told us, “Hopefully that equals very happy customers and shareholders …”

We’ll take that as confirmation that Flipboard’s next release will focus on assembling and presenting video clips in addition to text articles. That seems like a sensible move. People like watching videos, and tablets are well-suited to playing them.

The good news: Flipboard, after a slow start, finally seems to be taking off. McCue told Fox that Flipboard now had more than 20 million users and is adding a new user every second.

He also said it’s grown to 77 employees, including recent hires Feng and Erly cofounder Eugene Wei.

Airtime, a chat startup backed by Sean Parker, bought Erly for its team last May. But Feng left Airtime in October.

Kleiner Perkins invested in both Flipboard and Erly, and has a long association with both McCue and Feng, who actually worked at Kleiner before going to Erly.

Flipboard’s last CTO, Arthur Van Hoff, quietly left in November and became an entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint Ventures, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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