July 27, 1998 11:35 AM PDT

Drugstore.com gets Neupert

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Peter Neupert, who recently left Microsoft after playing a key role in its Internet and cable strategies, has landed a chief executive post with start-up Drugstore.com, said company founder Jed Smith.

Neupert will serve in that post as part of his role as "CEO in residence" with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm he will join next month.

Drugstore.com, which has yet to launch, will operate as an online drug store. Smith, also creator of the brick-and-mortar cybercafe chain Cybersmith, will serve as vice president.

Eight months ago, Smith developed the idea for Drugstore.com and approached Kleiner Perkins for funding, he said. The venture firm is the sole backer of the new business.

KPCB then put the project into its "Entrepreneur in residence" program--a sort of incubator for early stage companies. And in a rare move, KPCB partners John Doerr and Brook Byers both were appointed to Drugstore.com's board.

"They usually don't have two [KPCB] partners on the board," Smith said.

KPCB's Byers and Smith then went searching for a CEO.

"We hired Peter and he's phenomenal," Smith said. "We're really excited to have him."

As previously reported, Neupert formerly served as vice president of news and publishing in Microsoft's interactive media group. He also played a key role in founding MSNBC's Internet and joint cable ventures, in addition to overseeing advertising and sales for Microsoft's online properties.

Neupert, who spent 11 years at Microsoft, will continue to operate from Seattle, where Drugstore.com will be headquartered.

"We've known [Neupert] a long time. He's going to work on a bunch of stuff," Kleiner Perkins said in an earlier report by CNET News.com. "He has an interest in e-commerce and will dabble in that area."

KPCB's CEO-in-residence program has existed for about 20 years and is designed to recruit CEOs for companies that it finances. Neupert was not available for comment.

 

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