Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Cloud-Collaboration Service FuzeBox Hires VoIP Pioneer Michael Knappe

FuzeBox, the surprisingly cool cloud-based service that produces virtual meetings and collaboration sessions that actually work and allow you to get things done, has just made a key hire, sources at the company tell AllThingsD.

The company, which over the summer landed an impressive $20 million Series A round of venture capital funding from Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures, has started to ratchet up its hiring. Sometime today, it will announce that it has hired Michael Knappe, an early pioneer in the voice-over-Internet-protocol industry and a founding member of the VoIP Forum Industry Consortium. Knappe’s title will be director of engineering.

Michael Knappe

Knappe brings to FuzeBox nearly a quarter-century of telecom industry experience. He was one of the five people who started the VoIP engineering program at networking giant Cisco Systems, and was also a senior engineer at Nortel Networks. He led engineering on development of a VoIP router at Juniper Networks. and during those years he racked up 35 patents on which he was listed as co-inventor, all in the areas of packet voice, audio signal processing, and audio and video conferencing.

Over that time, he was deeply involved in the VoIP Industry Forum, one of those industry-standards-setting efforts that is so often helpful in making a new technology mainstream. By the time of its peak in 1997, companies as varied as Microsoft, Intel and Cisco were all participating members, and now VoIP is indeed mainstream.

The company is certainly moving along. FuzeBox powers 60,000 hours of audio conferences every month, but more impressively, it handles 78,000 online meetings everyday. Its customers include Amazon, CBS, Thomson Reuters and Verizon Wireless — which also resells FuzeBox to its business customers.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work