Boston tech veteran Jeff Glass is stepping down from his role as chief executive at wireless positioning innovator Skyhook Wireless. He will stay on as a member of the company’s advisory board.
In a company blog post, Skyhook also announced that Jim Crowley, who has been the president of Skyhook under Glass’s tenure, will be stepping into the role of chief executive officer.
Skyhook, which was acquired by TruePosition, a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, earlier this year, has been one of the key players in the growth of mobile technology since the early 2000s. One of the first innovators of beacon-based, Wi-Fi location positioning, Skyhook’s “hybrid positioning” was the driving mobile technology in the early days of Apple’s iPhone.
Glass has long played a role in the development of mobile technologies; among other companies that he helped build, he was the founder and CEO of mobile company M-Qube, which was acquired by VeriSign for $250 million in 2006.
After M-Qube, Glass became a partner at Bain Capital Ventures where he was involved in the firm’s early investment into LinkedIn. In 2012, Glass took over the chief executive role for Skyhook founder Ted Morgan.
At the time, Bain was an investor in Skyhook, and, as Glass explained, “They were looking for a CEO and I knew the company…I was really excited about the mobile space, so I jumped in here a few years ago and it’s been a great ride.”
Skyhook has more than 50 employees in Boston (a number that Glass is proud of since it almost triples the number of the Skyhook team when he started). He is also happy with the way that Liberty Media has allowed Skyhook to operate as it had before the acquisition.
“They’ve been terrific in that the company has been able to operate independently,” Glass said. “Skyhook still feels entrepreneurial and startup-like.”
Glass isn’t leaving Skyhook to move on to another venture — just yet. His main reason is to spend more time with his family, specifically his three teenage chidren who will be moving on to college in the next few years. He is still going to stay involved in Skyhook and, as he said, he will “probably get involved in other things eventually.”
Glass also praised Crowley who came to Skyhook with him in 2012. Crowley, who was chief operating officer at M-Qube with Glass, has also played a role in many local startups. “we are really lucky,” Glass said of the promotion of Crowley to chief executive. “It will be a seamless transition.”
“[Crowley] is an experienced CEO and built a bunch of great companies and has had a few great exits,” Glass added.
In a statement, Crowley said, “We are deeply appreciative of all that Jeff has done here at Skyhook and the entire Skyhook team wishes him well on his next adventure.”
“As the mobile world continues its exponential growth, this is an exciting time in the location technology space and we’re thrilled that Skyhook is in such a strong leadership position,” Crowley added.
As for Glass, he is really excited by how far mobile technology, and the role Boston continues to play as a key innovator.
“When I first started M-Qube, in 2001, and tried to raise money in California and Boston, one thing that I was told was that American’s aren’t going to text message, that this whole mobile thing is a waste of time,” Glass said.
“I’ve been involved in mobile for a while, and I’m sure I will be able to continue to help and watch it evolve.”