Back in November, Ustream Co-founder and longtime CEO John Ham stepped down from the company he had helped found four and a half years earlier. His co-founder, Brad Hunstable, took the reins in his place. Ham continues to serve as chairman of Ustream’s board of directors and as an advisor to the company, but as Jason reported, his stepping down in November was an acknowledgement of the Entrepreneurial Call.
At the time, Ham was tight-lipped about the particulars of his new venture, which remains true today, as the startup is in double-secret stealth mode. However, Ham is ready to reveal a few more details, including his partner. The Ustream co-founder has teamed up with Keith Lee, the co-founder of venture-backed, location-based mobile app developer Booyah — the makers of popular iOS apps including My Town. Prior to co-founding Booyah, Lee was the lead producer for Blizzard’s Diablo III franchise, as well as a lead engineer for Insomniac Games.
The co-founders also revealed this morning that they recently closed a $1.5 million round of seed financing from a pack of well-known investors, including Canaan Partners, Greylock, Softbank Capital, Ashton Kutcher’s A-Grade Investments, Kevin Rose, and others.
We caught up with Ham and Lee this morning, and although the co-founders would not yet divulge the name of their new venture, or the size of the team, they did say that they’ve secured office space in the SOMA district in San Francisco and that the startup is be focused on building mobile applications that focus on social experiences and helping people make connections.
Ham said that he first met Lee when forging a partnership between Ustream and Booyah, which he said ended up being one of Ustream’s most successful partnerships to date. The two struck up a friendship, and Ham said he had vowed for years that he would eventually found a company with Lee, and at the end of last year, the opportunity presented itself.
Lee said that the two are all-out focused on building a great product, part of the reason they’ve remained heads-down for the last six months, and are iterating fast. The team plans to launch its first product and do a full unveiling by mid-summer. “We are both passionate about bringing people together through authentic, shared experiences,” Lee said, “and to help people meet in a way that sustains and strengthens relationships.”
Stay tuned for more.