Marcelo Calbucci is getting back into the Seattle startup scene.
The longtime technology entrepreneur and executive, known for his past work to galvanize the Seattle startup community, is joining Seattle-based Hiya as its new vice president of product, a new role that will ultimately bring him back to Seattle from his current home in London.
Founded in 2016 after spinning out from Whitepages, Hiya is known for its caller ID and spam blocking app — formerly known as Whitepages Caller ID — that helps provide users with more information about incoming calls to their smartphone. It raised an $18 million round in October and has partnerships with various wireless carriers and manufacturers.
Calbucci will work out of London, where he’s spent the past year as chief technology officer at DoctorLink, but will travel to Seattle every month and plans on moving back permanently next year. He’ll help set up Hiya’s new office in London, where Hiya CEO Alex Algard also temporarily relocated to prepare for the company’s global expansion.
He’s known Algard for more than a decade; Algard was an investor in Calbucci’s first startup back in 2006. The entrepreneurs reconnected in London earlier this year.
“He told me about the vision of Hiya, the amazing distribution partnerships in place, and asked if I was interested,” Calbucci said. “It became very clear that Hiya is a fast-growing startup, not a unicorn yet, and the opportunity to work with handset makers and mobile carriers to improve the phone [dialer] app experience is a big challenge and within our reach.”
In a blog post, Calbucci wrote that Hiya is “working on a huge opportunity, and our service offering can help everyone who has a smartphone.”
“We have a talented and diverse team of people,” he said. “The people I’ve met take pride in their work, and they get so much done.”
Calbucci founded Seattle 2.0, a community site and events organization that was acquired by GeekWire in 2011. (Next week’s GeekWire Awards, for example, got their start as the Seattle 2.0 Awards.) In an email, Calbucci said Seattle “feels like a tech center more than ever before,” noting the growth of large tech companies, startups, and recent public offerings.
“In terms of lifestyle, Seattle is pretty hard to beat,” he added. “It has the right balance of city, nature, culture, and diversity. It could use some better transit though.”