Two months after leaving America Online's Netscape division, Bob Lisbonne, a veteran executive who oversaw the company's browser product, has resurfaced as a venture capitalist with Los Altos, Calif.-based Crosspoint Venture Partners.
Lisbonne will assume the title of general partner at Crosspoint, a firm whose investments include Ariba, USWeb/CKS, Foundry Networks, Juniper Networks and Covad Communications. Lisbonne departed AOL in October and was replaced by former vice president of client development Jim Hamerly.
"I'll be...obviously applying my Netscape experience looking for new Internet opportunities," Lisbonne said in an interview. "It'll be a lot of fun working with start-ups as this digital economy is being born."
Lisbonne joins a growing list of former Netscape movers and shakers who have turned into Internet entrepreneurs and financiers since AOL acquired Netscape six months ago.
Such "alumni" include co-founder and browser pioneer Marc Andreessen, who, since leaving his post as AOL's chief technology officer in September, has made several investments. He also co-founded Loudcloud, a firm that aims to help companies launch sophisticated Web operations.
Former Netscape chief executive Jim Barksdale, who left in April, launched his own start-up investment fund called the Barksdale Group. Already, he has invested in other start-ups conceived by Netscape veterans, such as Tellme Networks, which combines the telephone and the Internet to provide consumers with information. Working with Barksdale are Peter Currie, Netscape's former chief administrative officer, and Quincy Smith, Netscape's former investor relations and business development manager.
Former Netcenter executive Jennifer Bailey recently emerged as a consultant and board member for several start-ups founded by ex-Netscape employees, including Mambo.com
Netscape insiders credit Lisbonne with spearheading some of the company's boldest moves, including the decision to make the Communicator browser free and the creation of Mozilla.org, an open-source development organization. Lisbonne was also involved in halting the development of Communicator 4.5 in favor of focusing more on "Gecko," a more standards-compliant browser technology.
News.com's Paul Festa contributed to this report.