Strategy at San Diego’s Chumby Coming to Fruition Under New CEO

10/5/10Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s Chumby Industries, creator of the consumer gadget that is a plush toy, alarm clock, Web terminal, and video and music player, raised an additional $3 million in debt, options, and rights to securities, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. The latest funding, which co-founder and investor Steve Tomlin describes as “no real news…simply a planned follow-on tranche from our existing investors,” brings the total capital raised to $26 million since Chumby started almost five years ago.

If the funding was routine, however, there’s nothing routine at the startup these days.

Tomlin has stepped down as Chumby’s CEO (he remains on the board). He was replaced at the helm about five weeks ago by Derrick Oien, who was previously a senior vice president at Good Technology, the mobile tech developer in Redwood City, CA. Before that, Oien was a co-founder of Intercasting, the San Diego mobile social-networking developer that was acquired by Good Technology in 2009. He also served as the chief operating officer at San Diego’s MP3.com.

Chumby classic

Chumby classic

I must confess that I never really “got” the soft-and-cuddly Chumby, now called the Chumby “Classic,” when we profiled the company last year. But I’m finally coming to understand that the stuffed animal as a Web-enabled device was a kind of stalking horse for a broader vision of the company’s software technology platform, an Internet apps portfolio that now has more than 1,500 apps, and a gadget that serves as a model for a host of similar category-defying consumer electronics devices.

This became clearer in February, when Sony Electronics unveiled its “Dash” personal Internet viewer at its North American headquarters in San Diego. The Dash, which Sony sells through … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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