Paul Anthony, co-founder and chief executive of music licensing company Rumblefish, is stepping down 14 months after agreeing to sell the business.
Portland-based Rumblefish licenses soundtracks for videos on YouTube and other streaming sites. Through a partnership with YouTube called Friendly Music, Rumblefish matches songs with a video based on tempo, mood and occasion – celebrations, humor, sports or relationships, for example.
Nashville music licensing company SESAC paid about $27 million for Rumblefish in a deal announced in 2014, then acquired another rights organization called Harry Fox Agency in July of this year.
With those deals behind him, others in the works that have yet to be announced and a three-month-old daughter at home, Anthony said it felt like the right time to step away from Rumblefish, the business he started in his University of Oregon dorm room in 1996. The company has about 35 employees, he said, with plans to add another dozen. Anthony will remain with Rumblefish as an adviser.
He plans to step back into the Portland startup scene and is already dabbling in a pair of new businesses, an online events company called 503 and a guitar effects box business called Spaceman. In both cases, Anthony said, he's filling the role of a chairman, offering guidance to the companies' founders.
Rumblefish is one of several Portland tech companies to sell over the past few years as the city's revitalized technology community begins to mature. Anthony said that creates an opportunity for people like him to use their entrepreneurial experience to help refresh the sector.
"It really feels like the exits in Portland have started to accelerate," Anthony said.
It's typical for executives to stay for a period of time after selling a company, then leave the business to its new owners.
Some of those who sold their own businesses recently already have new gigs, including Small Society's Raven Zachary, who has started an augmented reality company called Object Theory, and former ShopIgniter CEO Matt Compton, who was just named chief operating officer of Portland online banker Simple.
Others are playing advisory roles in the community. Jive Software co-founder Bill Lynch is entrepreneur-in-residence for the Portland Development Commission, and Monsoon Commerce founder Kanth Gopalpur has the entrepreneur-in-residence role with Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency.
"A lot of the entrepreneurs and founders of these companies are staying involved," Anthony said.
-- Mike Rogoway