Viximo Founder Brian Balfour Steps Back from Full-Time Role; Company Doing “Extremely Well”

2/5/11Follow @gthuang

It’s usually noteworthy when a founder leaves a startup. I heard this week that Brian Balfour, the founder of Cambridge, MA-based Viximo, has stepped back from his full-time role at the virtual-goods technology company where he served as vice president of product marketing.

Balfour has been a fixture in the Boston-area tech startup scene for the past few years. Before Viximo, he worked at ZoomInfo and was an instigator of local events and resources for techies, including PopSignal and the Boston incarnations of Tech Cocktail. He was also a founding member of Betahouse, the co-working space for tech entrepreneurs in Cambridge.

Reached by e-mail today, Balfour says, “I’m still involved with Viximo on an almost daily basis. The company is doing extremely well which has allowed me to shift my role so that I can take some time to recharge. I’m not working on any other companies right now.”

Last August, Balfour spoke with me about the future of casual and social-network games—and about the possibility of consolidation in parts of the sector. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Balfour, a self-professed serial entrepreneur who’s “addicted to technology, startups, entrepreneurship, product management, and marketing,” according to his website.

In a January 19 post for VentureFizz, in which he detailed Viximo’s beginnings (“in an inebriated conversation while standing over a keg of beer”), Balfour said he’s working on a side project called reCatalyze, which is “still in the experimentation phase, but details will be released soon.” On his own blog, Balfour says reCatalyze was co-founded by himself and Ariel Diaz, the founder of SavvyTextbooks.

Balfour said in an e-mail that reCatalyze is a project “around helping entrepreneurs connect in helpful and meaningful ways,” similar to PopSignal, and that it “might not come together until Fall.”

Of course, it’s also interesting to watch where Viximo goes from here. The company started in 2007 and is now led by CEO Dale Strang, the former president and co-founder of the online ad network 5to1.com. About a year ago, my colleague Wade wrote about Strang’s perspective on expanding the business around virtual goods. Last fall, Viximo announced it was opening a San Francisco office and bringing on new management talent. And last month, the company said it had signed on three more Facebook games with a total of nearly 11 million monthly users.

It’s still early, but the success of companies like Zynga, Playdom, and PlayFish suggests that virtual goods sold in social games could become a large, sustainable industry—which would bode well for Viximo, which makes software to help Web publishers, social networks, and game developers make money from virtual goods and currencies.

Viximo most recently raised a $5 million financing round in 2009 led by North Bridge Venture Partners and Sigma Partners. Ed Anderson and Bob Davoli serve on Viximo’s board.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://www.dailygrommet.com Jules Pieri

    Brian Balfour and Arial Diaz are two smart cookies and bright lights in town…something cool will come out of reCatalyze. Good luck with both your ventures guys.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ghuang/ Gregory T. Huang

    Brian Balfour also wrote: “It has been amazing working with the team and set of investors at Viximo. They have been very understanding and supportive and I look forward to helping the company continue to grow.”