Pando Co-Founder, CTO Leaves For Kaplan

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Pando Networks co-founder and CTO Laird Popkin has left the company to become VP of engineering for Kaplan, the test-prep company owned by the Washington Post Company (WPO).

In an email to friends, Popkin said “the Pando team is strong and the business is doing well.” We’ve reached out to Pando CEO Robert Levitan for comment and will update when we hear back.

Popkin will remain an advisor to Pando, and will continue to work on the P4P project, aimed at making P2P more efficient for Internet service providers like telcos and cable companies.

NYC-based Pando is a peer-to-peer content delivery network (CDN), meaning they sell P2P-assisted hosting/bandwidth services to media companies. The idea is that by using consumers’ bandwidth — not just servers in datacenters — to help push files across the Internet, media companies can cut costs.

But while peer-to-peer was once seen as a big potential money-saver for media companies looking to push video and big files across the Web, it’s remained a relatively niche tool. For instance, while NBC (GE) has tested a Pando-powered P2P video distribution tool, it uses traditional CDNs for the episodes it streams on NBC.com.

Pando announced last week that it’s providing game downloads for Nexon America, which powers games like “Combat Arms” and “MapleStory.” A nice deal, but not the same as, for instance, powering movie downloads for Apple (AAPL), which top CDNs like Akamai Technologies (AKAM) get paid a premium to do.

Before Pando, Popkin was CTO at Sotheby’s (BID), the auction house. He’s also worked for News Corp. (NWS) and Warner Music Group, where he was director of digital technology.

Photo: Daniel Alexander/FramesMedia.com via Flickr

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