Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Longtime Online Exec Tina Sharkey Joins Sherpa Foundry as CEO

Tina Sharkey, the former CEO of BabyCenter, is joining a new venture aimed at helping corporations get better at taking advantage of their digital assets.

Sharkey, who is a well-known Silicon Valley investor and exec, will become CEO of Sherpa Foundry, which was co-founded by Shervin Pishevar and Scott Stanford.

She will be responsible for overall management and operations for Sherpa Foundry, including developing initiatives and leading relationships with its corporate partners/members, which have yet to be announced. The goal, Sharkey said in an interview, is to bridge big and often slow-moving companies with more nimble and perhaps chaotic startup environments, by helping them gain a digital edge with their existing assets.

(As someone who knows: Good luck with that!)

“This was the opportunity to take everything I have done in my career and bring it together,” she said. “I think that I can help our members look inside their portfolios and find what they can’t innovate inside their own walls and create new opportunities.”

This inside-outside approach is well suited to Sharkey, who has worked in both smaller and larger business settings.

Sharkey left BabyCenter, a wholly-owned division of Johnson and Johnson, a year ago. Previous to that, she had a varied career, including as a co-founder of iVillage, as an exec at AOL and even as the first digital exec at Sesame Street. She is also a director of HomeAway and Brit + Co.

Sherpa Foundry is part of a two-pronged effort by Pishevar, formerly of Menlo Ventures, and former Goldman Sachs tech banker Stanford.

Its other arm, Sherpa Ventures, is an early-stage venture fund, which has started off its efforts to raise $150 million for its initial fund with a $15 million commitment from private equity giant TPG Capital.

Sherpa Ventures has already made more than two dozen investments in startups since its creation earlier this year. They include BackOps, a cloud-based company that offers back-office services like accounting, human resources and financial reporting; and Munchery, a gourmet-meal delivery service.

Sharkey now rounds out the group, said Pishevar and Stanford in a statement:

“Being the CEO of Sherpa Foundry requires someone with the unique founder-sense to grow entrepreneurial endeavors of scale coupled with the discipline, network and wisdom that comes from leading global corporations. Tina brings this along with an acute sense for what it takes to build enduring and loved brands. We’re very fortunate to have her join us.”

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald