Six Apart Hires New CEO, Nets European Bloggers

The Weblogging software maker's founders bring in one of its board members as CEO-and also hire two other execs-as the company expands its global reach by buying a European blog provider.

SAN MATEO, Calif.—Six Apart, the maker of the popular Movable Type Weblogging software, is expanding its executive team and international reach.

The company has hired a new CEO as well as two new executive vice presidents and has acquired European blog provider Ublog, one of its founders said during an interview at its headquarters here.

Barak Berkowitz, a Six Apart board member, has replaced co-founder Mena Trott as CEO. Berkowitz had been in the acting role of CEO for the past six months, the company announced Wednesday.

Trott is becoming president, where she said she will focus her energy on the companys products—Movable Type and its TypePad hosted blog service—and on communicating with users.

She and husband Ben Trott founded Six Apart out of their home in 2002. Ben Trott will remain as the companys chief technology officer.

Mena Trott said she decided last year that she did not want to stay as the companys CEO but wanted to bring in a more experienced top executive. She said she confirmed her decision after a grueling 10-hour round of business negotiations in Japan along with Berkowitz.

"Barak has been tremendous in terms of helping us figure out the business side of things and helping us learn," Trott said. "We want to be surrounded by smart people who have been in the industry a long time."

Another executive, Loic Le Meur, comes from Six Aparts acquisition of Paris-based Ublog. Le Meur, Ublogs founder and CEO, has filled the role of executive vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, and will help lead the companys European expansion.

The Ublog buy, the terms of which were not disclosed, adds six more employees to Six Apart. Before the acquisition, Ublog was acting as an agent for Six Aparts products.

In the past 18 months, Six Apart has grown from two people—the co-founders—to about 40, Mena Trott said.

"Weve grown so much in the past seven months, more than we did in the past year," she said.

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Andrew Anker, a former executive in multiple startups including as a co-founder and CEO of Wired Digital, is Six Aparts new executive vice president of corporate development.

Trott said Six Apart has had its eye on international growth almost since its inception. It had received venture funding from Japanese venture capital firm Neoteny Co. Ltd. in April 2003 and has since licensed its TypePad service to two Japanese ISPs—NTT Communications and NIFTY Corp., Anker said.

"You have to be global immediately," Anker said. "This is a worldwide phenomenon."

On Wednesday, Six Apart also announced another deal in Japan. It has licensed TypePad to Hitachi Ltd., which is using it to power a blogging service called Boxer Blog it began offering July 1 to business and corporate users.

Six Apart also began offering it own TypePad Japan blog service specifically for that market. It has been available for about two weeks, Mena Trott said.

Moving forward, Anker said the company expects to continue to focus on both licensed software and its hosted services. It first introduced its TypePad service in April of last year. It also plans to target a broader customer base. While customers today are largely individuals, businesses and organizations are increasingly interested in blogging tools, he said.

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Six Apart has undergone rapid changes in recent months, introducing its first paid licenses for the Movable Type software with a developer release of Version 3.0. The initial licensing terms caused some push-back from bloggers, leading Six Apart to revise its pricing last month.

Part of the reason behind that move was to address enterprises increasing interest in using the software for blogging. Movable Type 3.0 includes a broader set of APIs so developers can plug it into other systems. Though officials wouldnt pinpoint a date, they said its full release is "imminent," likely in the next few weeks.

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