Steve Hooper, one of the founding members of Ignition Partners and the former CEO of AT&T Wireless, has joined the board of InfoSpace. It is a little unusual to see a venture capitalist take a board seat at a publicly-traded company, especially with one with as much history at InfoSpace. But the Bellevue company is in an interesting position right now in part because of its massive war chest of cash. InfoSpace, which operates the Internet search sites such as Dogpile.com and MetaCrawler, finished 2010 with $253.7 million and no debt.
That cash pile could be used to expand the company into new directions, and Chairman John Cunningham alluded to that in today’s press release.
“Steve brings to InfoSpace an in-depth knowledge of our industry at a critical period in our history,” said John Cunningham, Chairman of the Board of InfoSpace. “His breadth of experience in the technology, internet and telecommunications space will be a tremendous addition to our Board as we continue to seek out the right strategic opportunities.”
Hooper obviously has a lot of experience in mobile, which interestingly enough was a core area of strength for InfoSpace before it sold off the mobile business to Motricity in 2007.
Hooper will join seven other members on InfoSpace’s board, and the company said today that it is also looking for a qualified shareholder to fill a ninth seat.
In addition to Ignition and AT&T, Hooper previously served in executive roles at Teledesic, Nextlink and McCaw Cellular.