Jawbone President Departs After Less Than a Year — and Just One Week After Massive Funding
According to sources who were present at an all-hands meeting at Jawbone today, CEO and co-founder Hosain Rahman announced that President Mindy Mount was leaving the smart devices company.
A Jawbone spokesman (welcome, Jim!) confirmed the move to me, adding this statement:
“As we prepare for this next stage of growth and with additional financing in place, Jawbone has taken this opportunity with the board and its investors to reorganize its structure. Having helped prepared the company for this new phase, Mindy has decided it is the right time to step down. Mindy has helped Jawbone a great deal over the last eight months. In particular, driving new business relationships for the company, the financial integration of recent acquisitions and strengthening Jawbone’s business processes and corporate structure. We wish her very well for the future.”
The funding being referred to for the San Francisco company is a $250 million funding round that values it at $3.3 billion. Sources said the latest investment, which was oversubscribed, could still rise to $300 million before it is fully completed.
The lead investor in the latest Jawbone funding is Rizvi Traverse Management, which has become the go-to giant funder of high-profile tech companies of late, including Twitter and Square, among others. The investment firm is led by Suhail Rizvi, who is turning into the investing equivalent of Russian moneyman Yuri Milner except with a much lower profile.
Mount was a high-profile hire from Microsoft, arriving at Jawbone last May in what was considered a major upgrading of its management and board last year, in preparation for an eventual IPO. At the time, Jawbone also added Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Rob Wiesenthal of Warner Music as directors.
There are persistent rumors — especially after the acquisition of Nest Labs by Google for $3.2 billion — that the innovative and stylish Jawbone is also on the radar screens of the bigs like Google, Apple and perhaps even Microsoft.
Mount certainly had a lot of financial and operational experience, having held several key jobs at the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. She was most recently corporate VP and CFO at Microsoft’s Online Services division, which includes Bing, MSN and Microsoft Advertising. Before that she held a similar job at the Entertainment and Devices division, which has the Xbox, Zune and Windows Phone units. Previous to that, Mount ran AOL’s U.K. division, worked in strategy at Time Warner and also was an exec at Morgan Stanley. She has an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
At the time of her appointment, Mount told me in an interview that what attracted her to Jawbone was the challenge of scaling the fast-growth company. “Right out of the block, I’ll be spending time on business operations, since the scale and scope and complexity of Jawbone has really increased,” she said. “It’s a company with great products, where I can come in and have real impact, because consumer electronics companies really have to execute.”
Maybe so, but now without her and with that big new funding round that Re/code first reported last week was taking place. Jawbone declined to comment on the reasons for the quick departure, but sources said the fit between her and the fast-growing company was not right.
Jawbone products include Jawbone wireless headsets, Jambox speakers and the Up personal fitness wristbands. The company has raised a lot of funding, totaling about $250 million before the latest round from such venture firms as Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital, as well as Deutsche Telekom, investor Yuri Milner and others.