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Former Excite@Home, Cisco execs team on start-up

The executives are quietly working on an Internet start-up dubbed Project Skytalk, billed on its Web site as "a revolutionary new commerce and community online service."

A group of former executives from Excite@Home and Cisco Systems is quietly working on an Internet start-up dubbed Project Skytalk.

The executives wouldn't comment except to say that their start-up is in "stealth mode." But they already have posted a Web site that provides some information.

"Project Skytalk is launching a revolutionary new commerce and community online service that will change the way people communicate and turn an existing analog industry upside down and into the digital era," its Web site reads.

The company is expected to announce its first round of financing within the next two weeks. @Ventures, CMGI's venture capital arm, will be one of the investors, according to sources close to Project Skytalk.

Founders include Raj Kapoor and Suneet Wadhwa, both from Excite@Home. Kapoor is Skytalk's chief executive, and Wadhwa is vice president of business development. Shripati Acharya, Skytalk's vice president of product marketing, most recently was a product line manager at Cisco.

This is the latest example of a so-called second-generation start-up formed by Net entrepreneurs. Another, a community site called, headed by former Microsoft executive Karl Jacobs, launched today. Last month, former Netscape executive Marc Andreessen launched Loudcloud, a Web services firm.

On its job listings page, San Francisco-based Project Skytalk says it is a "pre-IPO start-up." It has many openings, including those of Web site director, database architect, and vice president of operations.

The database architect will lead "the design of a very high-volume image database and customer database--the heart of our operation," the site reads. "The entire company will look to you for designing and maintaining the DBMS and making sure that millions of customers load hundreds of millions on their browsers quickly and seamlessly."'s Jeff Pelline contributed to this report.