Kara Swisher

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Silicon Valley Finance Vet Peter Currie Joins Board of New Relic in IPO Prep Move


Well-known Silicon Valley power player Peter Currie is joining the board of directors of New Relic.

The move to bring in the well-regarded moneyman to the under-the-radar San Francisco software analytics company could indicate an intent to push to an IPO eventually. Founded in 2008, the company has raised $115 million in funding from a variety of high-profile investors, including Benchmark Capital’s Peter Fenton, who is chairman of New Relic.

The company, which has 300 employees, says it has 50,000 customers, including Airbnb, ESPN, Comcast, Groupon and others, from which it captures more than 125 billion metrics daily on the performance of 1.4 million applications of all kinds. The category it is in is called application performance management, and competitors — most of which are also fast-growing and well-funded — include ThousandEyes, AppDynamics and Crittercism.

New Relic’s CEO, Lew Cirne, is a veteran of the space, having founded an earlier iteration of the company, Wily Technology, which sold to CA for $375 million in 2006. The idea of solving how to help companies deal with the increasingly complex interaction of their app services is the focus of New Relic, which is close to profitability.

Currie has a lot of experience with companies moving to IPO. Back in the heyday of Web 1.0, as the CFO of Netscape Communications, Currie led the iconic browser software company into history, as the first great Internet rocket ship, when it went public on Aug. 9, 1995. As I wrote previously, while the Netscape experience ended in tears, Currie’s career has not, and he has become a kind of go-to elder statesman in the Web 2.0 era, as well as an active investor.

The freakishly tall, aggressively avuncular and Elvis-adoring exec is currently on the board of Twitter, and once took a temporary job as CFO of Facebook before it went public, to help sort out its financial team.

After Netscape, he was a partner and co-founder of the Barksdale Group, an early-stage venture capital firm. Before Netscape, he was CFO of McCaw Cellular Communications, and also worked at Morgan Stanley, as well as at General Atlantic in private equity.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus