LinkExchange co-founder Partovi joins Hampton Creek full time

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Ali Partovi, co-founder of LinkExchange and Code.org and an early adviser at such companies as Zappos, Facebook and Dropbox, has joined Hampton Creek full time as chief strategic officer.

Partovi had participated as an angel investor in Hampton Creek’s $23 million Series B funding round in February, which was led by Horizons Ventures and included AME Cloud Ventures (the venture arm of Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang) and Khosla Ventures.

Partovi told peHUB that the nature of his role hasn’t yet been determined, but that it will likely involve marketing of the company’s plant-based products, such as Just Mayo and Just Cookies, which feature no egg and no dairy products. He said that since he invested, he has become increasingly involved with Hampton Creek, serving as an adviser to founder and CEO Josh Tetrick.

“I wasn’t looking for a job. I didn’t need one,” Partovi said. “I was looking for a role that would have the most impact and fulfillment in regards to sustainable agriculture, and Hampton Creek is that place.”

In 1996, Partovi, then 23, co-founded the Internet ad network LinkExchange, which Microsoft bought in 1998 for $265 million. He and his brother Hadi Partovi have since been involved in various fast-growing and successful companies, such as investing in Zappos and Facebook, launching the nonprofit Code.org, which is developing computer programming education, and they have served as advisers to Dropbox and Indiegogo, among others. Ali Partovi also has invested in other sustainable agriculture companies, including BrightFarms, which builds hydroponic greenhouses to lessen their impact on the food supply chain.

Partovi said that Hampton Creek‘s primary marketing vehicle is via Facebook, and thanks to the company’s promotional efforts on the social network, Just Mayo is the top-selling mayonnaise at Whole Foods Market. The San Francisco-based company is also developing an eggless egg.

“We’re trying to reduce the footprint of human agricultural, and marketing on social networks will be the key going forward,” he said. “The proof will be in the pudding, or rather the mayonnaise.”

This story first appeared in Reuters Venture Capital Journal. Subscribers can read the full story here. To subscribe to VCJ, click here for the Marketplace.

Photo of Just Mayo mayonnaise courtesy of Hampton Creek.

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